Vicor modules help Saab UK innovate deep-sea exploration

20th June 2024
Paige West

Less than two years ago, two Saab remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) ventured over 3,000 metres into the icy waters of the Antarctic in search of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship, Endurance, which sank in 1915.

The tale of the British explorer is renowned for its remarkable leadership and endurance. Saab’s Seaeye ROVs played a crucial role in the mission, utilising advanced technology to locate, inspect, and film the wreck, thereby removing the need to put human lives at risk in deep-sea exploration.

Historically, commercial divers have faced significant dangers inspecting oil and gas pipelines, high-voltage electrical cables, wind turbines, and other essential underwater infrastructure. Saab has mitigated these risks by applying its deep-sea exploration expertise to commercial underwater applications.

With a commitment to safeguarding people and society, the Seaeye range of ROVs has been designed with agile and modular systems. Saab UK’s Seaeye systems are versatile, capable of performing a variety of tasks from observation and inspection to more complex operations like underwater maintenance.

This progression has led to the creation of the world's most advanced all-electric work-class ROV (eWROV), which combines versatility and manoeuvrability. Unlike traditional hydraulic ROVs, the eWROV eliminates the need for extensive hydraulic fluid, reducing environmental hazards.

The eWROV’s power converter must meet critical specifications for size, mass, and thermal dissipation, as the electronic systems are housed in sealed enclosures where space is limited and conventional cooling methods are not feasible. To meet these demands, Saab selected Vicor power modules for their high density and efficiency. These modules enable effective power distribution to various eWROV subsystems such as thrusters, manipulators, and onboard electronics. The use of Vicor power modules allows Saab to tailor Seaeye subsystems to industry-standard 24 and 48V levels required by onboard computers, sensors, video cameras, lights, and navigation equipment.

Learn more about Saab Seaeye, the world’s first eWROV.


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