Robotic hull-cleaner helping port automation

Robotic hull-cleaning technology able to fully autonomously function without operational downtime will be the future according to one company.

Fleet Cleaner, available 24/7 in major ports in the Netherlands, is already equipped with a tracking system, enabling operators to accurately follow the robot's movements on the ship's hull. The company behind the product of the same name has also developed several systems to improve visibility and navigation in ports with poor visibility underwater, but now wants to boost the technology's intelligence and expand its services.

"Already, we constantly see that our autopilot can control the robot better than any human operator. However, we want to take this to a whole new level," explained Mr Borota, one of the chief engineers at Fleet Cleaner. "To really guarantee cleaning quality, the robot will be able to autonomously clean the ship, while tracking its path and planning its optimal route around objects by itself."

Last year, Fleet Cleaner's technology, which incorporates a waste water removal and treatment system, allowed the hull of Spliethoff's mv Fagelgracht to be cleaned underwater at the Port of Rotterdam without divers and without disrupting operations.

The hull-cleaning service is conducted during loading and unloading and, depending on the terminal, also between vessel and quayside, with the aim of enabling cargo operations to continue as planned.

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