CHENNAI: Commonly found in the Arctic ocean, Beluga whales are unique for emitting high-frequency noises with which they communicate with one another. But thousands of miles away, here in Chennai, a different ‘Beluga’ is ready to take off into the deep oceans.
Developed by Planys Technologies, Beluga is an indigenously built Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) that can provide submersible inspection and survey solutions. It was launched on Friday at IIT Madras, where the company had its roots in the institute’s incubator cell. Coming after the launch of an earlier ROV, named Mike, the firm has become a pioneer in developing compact underwater ROVs capable of non-destructive testing.
According to Tanuj Jhunjhunwala, co-founder and CEO of Planys, Beluga offers submersible robotic inspection for offshore structures. With several features onboard, the ROV has been touted to be specifically designed for the oil/gas and shipping sector. It has a sonar system, which helps to construct 3D images of submerged structures. An ultrasonic measurement equipment has been installed to help the structure’s health. High-definition cameras will help capture clear videos. “It is a powerful vehicle which can go to depths as low as 200 metres and can carry out accurate inspection,” Tanuj said. It is is best suited to check offshore oil rigs, ships and dams, to check tructural strength, he added.
The earlier Mike, which only offers visual inspection capability, has been operated for more than 1000 hours and has been deployed in several ports of the country. The ROV has also been used at Sathanur dam.
“It took six months to design, manufacture and test ‘Beluga’, which is 4-5 times cheaper than the international market rate, which is currently upwards of `1 crore,” said Pulkit Agarwal, Product Development Lead, an IIT Madras alumni.