HydroCamel II, the first UAV in Israel

Researchers reveal Israel’s first autonomous submarine

Image credit: Ben-Gurion University

The HydroCamel II, which is the country’s first autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), will be commercialised for military, scientific and security applications.

The submarine was developed at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, by researchers at the University’s Laboratory for Autonomous Robotics. It is bright yellow, eight feet long and fully autonomous. Its design enables the easy integration of sonars, cameras, sensors, or a robotic arm for the collection of marine specimens.

“The autonomous HydroCamel II integrates state-of-the-art technologies, including high-level manoeuvring in six degrees of freedom and an ability to dive almost vertically,” said Professor Hugo Guterman, head of the laboratory where the submarine was developed.

“Until now, these capabilities were limited to remotely operated underwater vehicles, which must be tethered by an umbilical cable to a host ship for its power and air source. The HydroCamel II is completely autonomous.”

BGN Technologies Ltd, the tech transfer company at Ben-Gurion University, announced the formation of BG Robotics, which will be based near the university and will be responsible for commercialising the robotic submarine. The UAV will be formally unveiled at NextTech Conference 2017, at the Advanced Technologies Park in Beer-Sheva, Israel.

According to the team behind the HydroCamel II, it could be used for military and security applications, as well as in natural resource extraction, and in environmental research.

According to Markets and Markets, the market for autonomous underwater vehicles will reach $1.2 billion by 2023, and could increase by 22 per cent yearly, due to adoption of cutting-edge security technology, and the expansion of offshore oil and gas extraction.

“[We] will be offering HydroCamel II at a competitive price compared to other underwater vehicles in the same category,” said Tzvika Goldner, the newly appointed CEO of BG Robotics. “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.”

Although the technology remains young, UAVs are in use around the world’s oceans, assisting scientists and the military, surveying areas after disasters, and laying out and checking underwater cables.

Boaty McBoatface, perhaps the world’s most famous UAV, recently completed its first missiongathering data to help scientists map the distribution of heat in the deep ocean between Antarctica and the Atlantic Ocean.

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