Intelligent underwater vehicles contribute to construction of HZMB
The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) officially opened to traffic on Wednesday as passengers crowded departure halls. Among many human staffs' effort, there are also some particular workers that caught attention – the intelligent underwater vehicles.
The world is full of mysteries and unexplored water areas. The Titanic, Flight MH370, and the Thailand cave rescue. You may have heard of these missions, but you may not know about the unsung hero, the underwater vehicle.
But not all underwater vehicles carry out mysterious rescue work. Chinese startups like Wei Jiancang's Sublue, are dedicated to applying them to different areas.
According to Wei, less than three percent of the ocean has been developed, and what we know about the ocean is less than we know about space. The development of underwater vehicles had been based on the needs of the military purpose and offshore and deep-water oil exploration. There are also many water-related economic activities such as the construction of seaports and cross-sea bridges, water conservancy facilities, dams, aquaculture, water quality protection and shipwreck archaeology. Such vehicles have been transformed from a highly professional equipment to those available to divers, and, finally, become a sport for common people.
So how does it really work? Let’s get a closer look at how they are manufactured and how they work as well as challenges ahead.
The underwater environment is complex and changeable. It's full of challenges.
The first challenge an underwater robot faces once launched is its sealing or water-tightness. A simulated device, called a pressure tank, a 1,000-class device, is set to test the pressure. Also once in water, the GPS signal is gone, so sonar sensors are used. What is also important is efficiency and control. Such a simulated device could help to find out any weak points so that improvement could be made. To make the underwater vehicles smarter, AI technology is also needed, which can, for example, identify and label fish it detects.
Chinese startups are seizing every opportunity to simplify the underwater operation process and raise its efficiency. And there is much room for market exploration.
On the business side, there will be no problem with the market, and the demand is clear. Civil-military integration is a national strategy and it will be an imperative trend. Wading sports are well accepted in some developed countries, like the United States or European countries. It is an inevitable choice to focus on overseas markets.
Not only do underwater vehicles explore the blue ocean, but their huge growth potential makes it a huge market, where top investors are looking to spend their cash to develop the industry.
According to Sheng, investors should have foresight and predictions instead of blindly pursuing the trend. It's already too late if you are chasing trends. “The change of consumption habits, the breakthroughs in technology, if you cannot seize them, you will not seize the business opportunity,” Sheng said.
The report to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China stressed that China should make efforts to become a manufacturing power. Sheng said that combined with AI, traditional enterprises will be able to raise their efficiency, reduce costs and get their operation automatic and smarter.