Robotics & Automation News

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Nauticus Robotics raises $12 million in new investment

Nauticus Robotics, a developer of subsea robots and software, has raised an additional $12 million as part of a second tranche of investment.

The new investment will expedite certification of Nauticus’ flagship robot, the Aquanaut, which facilitates the transformation of tethered ROV (remotely operated vehicle) operations to fully autonomous operations.

It is expected to perform numerous tasks in water depths ranging from 200 to 2,000+ meters during February in preparation for an inaugural job inspecting a deep-water production facility of a major oil and gas company in the Gulf of Mexico.

The new investment comes only weeks after the company announced a change in leadership, including a new CEO, CFO and lead general counsel.

Since becoming the president of Nauticus in October, John Gibson has been assessing the go-to-market strategy.

Gibson says: “The market sees our potential and supports our vision of delivering full autonomy to subsea operations – however, the diffusion rate of our solutions requires a significant shift from the current paradigm of human operations to autonomous operations.

“To eliminate the inertia to change, we recast our vision. We realized the fastest path to full autonomy would be through the deployment of ‘tethered/augmented autonomy’.

“This allows the customer and operators to retain the ability to intervene while simultaneously allowing Nauticus to gather the operational data needed to train our fully autonomous solutions for the future.”

This is possible because our software architecture is platform independent and can be used on all subsurface vehicles and has already been deployed on several competitor vehicles for defense-related work.

This enables the company to become a multi-platform operating system for a vast array of vehicles already deployed. The forecasted efficiency improvements for existing platforms using “tethered autonomy” will exceed 20%, while simultaneously reducing emissions and increasing safety for all subsea robots.

Sean Halpin, head of autonomous solutions, says: “What Nauticus has planned can truly revolutionize the entire industry – and I don’t use that term lightly.

“We can now normalize performance of ROV operators because you will no longer have disparities between skill levels of employees. This obviously provides substantial safeguards to any company using this technology.”

Chuck Claunch, co-head of software solutions, says: “We are creating a win-win situation for ROV operators. We are not asking them to give up complete control. These robots are not replacing jobs, but instead are making them both easier and more reliable.”

Paul Dinh, co-head of software solutions, says: “It’s not dissimilar to when pilots first needed to adjust to automation in the airline industry – they didn’t lose their jobs – they gained more reliable support to enjoy them.”

The board adds that while they are investing heavily into commercialization, they are also actively working to minimize general and administrative costs. Changes to align board cost with the current forecast are under way.

In addition, the board has retained Piper Sandler to assist in the evaluation of strategic options to maximize shareholder value and the acquisition of 3D At Depth.

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