Saab demos AUV/ROV hybrid, Seaeye Sabertooth, at NASA laboratory

Saab recently attended a subsea industry symposium led by OneSubsea and held at NASA's Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL) in Houston, Texas. The symposium featured demos and a seminar around one of Saab's key underwater vehicles: the Seaeye Sabertooth.

The Seaeye Sabertooth is a hybrid of an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) and an ROV; it merges Saab's Double Eagle SAROV (Saab Autonomous Remotely Operated Vehicle) with Saab Seaeye technologies. The vehicle, available in a single- and double-hull version, features long-excursion range, a six-degrees-of-freedom control system, and an operational depth of 1,200 msw (3,000 msw). It is a powerful, but lightweight and maneuverable platform, ideal for accessing complex structures and carrying out light inspection, maintenance and repair (IRM) tasks.

The demos at NBL displayed how the Seaeye Sabertooth can remotely execute subsea intervention tasks, such as closing a subsea valve. To make performing these duties possible, the Seaeye Sabertooth was fitted with an electric torque tool from Seanic Ocean Systems. This allowed the Seaeye Sabertooth to be operated via a free space optics (FSO) link. The link was connected to the subsea valve, where the torque tool was engaged with the torque bucket.

These demos marked several milestones for Saab's Seaeye Sabertooth demonstrations in North America: they were the first time an operational double-hull Seaeye Sabertooth had been demonstrated in the region; the first time it had been operated using FSO in front of a North American audience; and the first time it had been fitted with an electric torque tool.

Through its subsidiary, Saab Seaeye, Saab manufactures electrically powered remotely operated vehicle (ROV) systems for the offshore oil and gas industry. With over 800 vehicles delivered to date, Saab Seaeye has engineered such breakthroughs as carbon fiber electronics pods, polypropylene ROV chassis, and brushless DC motor technology for ROV thrusters.