Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has developed Israel’s first autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV). The robotic “HydroCamel II” will be commercially available for use in the military, security and oil and gas sectors, as well as environmental applications and marine research.
BGN Technologies Ltd., BGU’s technology-transfer company announced the formation of a new company BG Robotics (BGR), to commercialize the HydroCamel II developed by researchers in BGU’s Laboratory for Autonomous Robotics (LAR). Tzvika Goldner was named chief executive officer of the new entity, which will be headquartered in Beer-Sheva, adjacent to the university.
The new technology will be introduced at the NexTech Conference 2017 on October 19th in Beer-Sheva at the Advanced Technologies Park near the University.
The AUV market will likely reach $1.2 billion by 2023 because it is increasing annually by 22% due to the growing importance of security measures worldwide and expanding offshore oil and gas production. AUBs are being used around the world for underwater exploration, underwater cable layout and inspection, marine biology and geology sampling, archeology and different types of military uses.
"The autonomous HydroCamel II integrates state-of-the-art technologies, including high-level maneuvering in six degrees of freedom and an ability to dive almost vertically," says Prof. Hugo Guterman of the BGU Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and head of LAR. "Until now, these capabilities were limited to remotely operating underwater vehicles (ROVs), which must be tethered by an umbilical cable to a host ship for its power and air source. The HydroCamel II is completely autonomous."
The eight-foot-long HydroCamel II AUV combines full autonomy and maneuverability while enabling quick integration of specialized payloads like sonars, cameras, sensors and a specimen collection arm. BGR had begun cooperation with payload manufacturers to supply customers with an integrated solution.
"BGR will be offering HydroCamel II at a competitive price compared to other underwater vehicles in the same category," says Goldner. "This gives us a distinct advantage in the market. We believe HydroCamel II will expand the AUV customer base and enable us to deploy AUVs in new areas."