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Lomar and Alicia Bots partner to develop robotic system for cleaning ship hulls

Lomar, a ship-owning and management group, and Alicia Bots, a tech start-up developing robotics and mobility solutions for the maritime, offshore, oil and gas industries, are partnering to develop a robotic system for ship hull maintenance.

The companies say this effort both integrates cutting-edge robotic hull inspection and cleaning solutions into Lomar’s biofouling control practices as well as tests new use cases, marking a “significant leap forward” in the maritime industry’s pursuit of efficiency and environmental responsibility.

Lomar is to implement Alicia Bots’ robotic technology on up to 15 of its vessels. The autonomous hull cleaning technology provides a “viable reduction” in hull fouling, reducing fuel consumption, costs, and carbon emissions, says Lomar.

The multi-purpose magnetic crawler robots that have been developed by Alicia Bots can operate autonomously or remotely via a tether cable and are designed to carry out underwater inspection and maintenance tasks on a ship and other steel structures.

The adoption of a proactive in-water cleaning program has been proven to reduce fuel consumption and as a result of that, greenhouse gas emissions.

It also has the ability to prolong the service life of antifouling coatings, reduce the point source discharge and cost of reactive underwater cleaning programs as well as prevent the transport of invasive species.

Combining precision robotics and AI-powered analytics, these versatile crawlers are enabling safer, more efficient, and proactive practices. Apart from hull grooming, they are slated for use in cargo hold washing and cleaning, fire fighting, corrosion detection, reparation assistance, data collection, underwater inspections, and thickness measurements.

Lomar’s corporate venture lab, lomarlabs, will be involved in the collaboration, providing insight into the development of robotics to support maritime operations, particularly in the progress toward establishing the potential for autonomous marine drones.

This promising new technology has the potential to reduce the need to send humans into dangerous environments in order to carry out essential maintenance work, such as underwater diving operations for routine cleaning.

Lomar is also making its ships available to Alicia Bots to test new use cases with a project that has received grant-aid from the Singapore MPA, to trial underwater inspections and cleaning in Singapore.

Nicholas Georgiou, Lomar CEO, says: “The dawn of AI has significantly altered the way we view technology as a tool to facilitate our maritime industry’s routine operations.

“Lomar is committed to supporting the development, fine-tuning and implementation of promising technological solutions that will transform our operational and environmental effectiveness.

“In the race to create autonomous systems to support hull cleaning and other essential maintenance jobs on vessels, Alicia Bots has developed stand-out systems that provide huge potential for transforming existing labour-intensive maintenance processes with more efficient and effective AI technology while also saving on fuel costs and emissions.”

Inder Mukhopadhyay, Alicia Bots CEO, says: “Our collaboration with Lomar is a testament to them and the maritime industry’s commitment to innovation and sustainability.

“Together, we are ushering in a new era of Hull grooming, where cutting-edge technology, like the RoverClean, not only ensures a clean hull at all times but also paves the way for a greener and more efficient maritime future.”

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