‘HydroCamel’ Autonomous Submarine Unveiled in Israel

“When you pass through water, I will be with you; Through streams, They shall not overwhelm you. When you walk through fire, You shall not be scorched; Through flame, It shall not burn you.” Isaiah 43:2 (The Israel Bible™)

Israel’s first autonomous submarine was unveiled at the NexTech Conference 2017 in Beer Sheva on October 19.

The 2.5 meter long HydroCamel II Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) can be used for military and  security applications, for the oil and gas industry, as well as environmental applications and marine research.

The HydroCamel was developed by researchers at Ben Gurion University of the Negev’s Laboratory for Autonomous Robotics. BGN Technologies, the university’s technology company, launched a new company, BGR, to commercialize the vehicle.

Chief executive Tzvika Goldner told Tazpit Press Service at the conference that the HydroCamel is far more advanced than other AUVs on the market.

“We can preinstall payloads such as sonars, cameras and robotic arms that can perform different kind of tasks underwater,” Goldner said.

He added that the HydroCamel has already done more than 1,000 kilometers in underwater trials and is close to commercialization.

As for the HydroCamel’s cost, Goldner said that would depend on the payload the client requires, but that “BGR will be offering HydroCamel II at a competitive price compared to other underwater vehicles in the same category.

“Our AUV integrates state-of-the-art technologies including high-level maneuvering in six degrees of freedom and an ability to dive almost vertically,” adds Prof. Hugo Guterman of BGU’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and head of the LAR. “Until now, these capabilities were limited to remotely operated underwater vehicles, which must be tethered by umbilical cable to a host ship at all times, while the HydroCamel II is completely autonomous.”

The Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Market is currently worth around $300 million but, according to a report in Markets and Markets, is set to reach $1.2 billion by 2023, growing annually by 22 percent due to the rising necessity for sea-based security measures worldwide and increasing offshore oil and gas production.