Planys Technology Brings Underwater ROV to India Marine Inspection
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Source: New Indian Express
A city-based venture has come up with a technology that sounds like a sci-fi movie. Scientific explanation would call it an unmanned vehicle that examines anything under water. But Tanuj Jhujhunwala, co-founder of Planys Technology, which designed the bot, has an easier and cooler definition of what he does. "We build underwater robots," he explains. The start-up, which was born at the IIT-Madras Research Park’s Incubation Cell, recently got a round of angel-investor funding and a grant from the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) to build these specialised robots that can offer time and cost-effective services that would otherwise require a diver and a lengthy, complicated process. These services range from checking for leakage in an underwater oil pipeline to inspecting a container ship’s hull for damages.

For instance, ‘dry-docking’ a ship, where water is drained from an area in the harbour and the ship is inspected for repairs, will become a much faster process with the robot, which can perform the same task underwater.

The internet-enabled Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) can go to a depth of 100 meters. It is fitted with a high-definition camera to photograph and record underwater footage. "We have made a live-streaming service available in case a surveyor cannot make it to the site," explains Jhunjhunwala, an alumnus of IIT-M, who did research on the same subject as a student.

Why not import one from abroad? "Those are far more expensive and consume much more power," he asserts. He adds that their 12-member team comprising mechanical, electrical, computer science and ocean engineers are actively looking to customise it in any way, to offer it for commercial use and provide solutions — including water toxicity testing and defence.

Born out of a student group’s fascination with robots, the product is designed with the idea of eliminating human errors in underwater testing — even a professional diver aware of the golden non-destructive testing (NDT) rule, can commit errors. The NDT aspect of the robot is being engineered into place with the help of the start-up’s two faculty advisers Professors Krishnan Balasubramanian and Prabhu Rajagopal of IIT-Madras.

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