Aquanaut is an unmanned underwater vehicle that can transform itself from a nimble submarine designed for long-distance cruising into a half-humanoid robot capable of carrying out complex manipulation tasks. It can inspect subsea oil and gas infrastructure, operate valves, and use tools.
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Houston Mechatronics tested Aquanaut in a massive indoor pool that NASA uses to train astronauts for zero-gravity environments.
Nauticus Robotics (formerly Houston Mechatronics) was started by former NASA roboticists who worked on advanced technologies used in complex space missions. Founders Matt Ondler, Reg Berka, and Nic Radford want to bring their robotics expertise to industries that include energy, offshore oil and gas, defense, and seabed mining. They have raised more than US $23 million in venture capital since starting Nauticus in 2014. The company, based in Houston, Texas, is developing an all-electric underwater transforming vehicle called Aquanaut. It combines the capabilities of both an underwater autonomous vehicle, or AUV, and a remotely operated underwater vehicle, or ROV. When in AUV mode, it can travel long distances of up to 200 km (108 nautical miles) in one mission while mapping its surroundings and performing structure inspections. In ROV mode, the robot can turn valves, use subsea tools, and perform other manipulation tasks.