Acciona, Bosch and Boskalis plan autonomous vehicles for underwater work

Spanish infrastructure firm Acciona is part of a group that has begun developing autonomous vehicles that can complete tasks underwater using artificial intelligence.

The "SWARMs" project is made up of 30 companies and universities from 10 European countries, and includes members such as German electronics firm Bosch, Dutch engineer Boskalis, Madrid Technical University and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

The use of autonomous underwater vehicles is intended to avoid the use of human divers when carrying out work on offshore structures. Rather, robots will work together in groups that can communicate using acoustic modems.

The robot team could be used to fix repairs in ports, offshore platforms or wind turbines and measure and monitor seabed levels after dredging work.

The swarm can be controlled using an interface described as "video-game-like" by Acciona, designed so people without robotics training can control the vehicles.

Some €17m has been earmarked for the project, which has already been tested in Spain, Romania and Norway.

Image courtesy of Acciona

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