Underwater drones normally used for hull and offshore inspections have been brought in to help the salvage operation of the wrecked Norwegian frigate KNM Helge Ingstad, which capsized earlier this month.
The Blueye Pioneer drones are usually used by yards to perform hull inspections without the need and costs of sending down divers or ROVs. They also inspect sea cages to help monitor fish welfare at fish farms.
“The nature of this particular assignment is very unusual – but our drones are designed for exactly this type of work,” says Erik Dyrkoren, co-founder and CEO of Blueye Robotics.
“Compared to the total cost of the salvage operation, this is a very modest investment for the Norwegian military as our drones are priced much lower than alternative technology and divers.”
The drones will be used to inspect the frigate’s torpedo room and other difficult spaces before any lifting is attempted.
The drones – which measure just 45cm x 25cm x 35cm – can transmit a live HD-quality video feed to operators on the surface.
Despite being small in size, they are equipped with powerful thrusters which will allow them to operate effectively in the very strong currents found within the harbour at Hjeltefjorden where the frigate is now lying.