Shipowner Partners with TX Robotics Company


Ship ownership and management company Lomar has announced a collaboration with Texas robotics company Alicia Bots Inc. to install its robotic autonomous hull-cleaning technology on 15 of its vessels.

According to Lomar, the new cleaning technology is meant to reduce hull fouling and reduce fuel consumption, costs and carbon emissions, while also helping test new use cases. 

About the Tech Collab

Lomar states in its news release that Alicia Bots’ multi-purpose magnetic crawler robots are built to work remotely through a tether cable and execute underwater inspection and maintenance tasks on ships and steel structures.

Lomar stated that adopting a proactive cleaning program could potentially lower fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, while also lengthening the service life of antifouling coatings, reducing the point source discharge and cost of reactive underwater cleaning program and prevent the invasion of invasive species.

“The dawn of AI has significantly altered the way we view technology as a tool to facilitate our maritime industry’s routine operations,” said Lomar chief executive Nicholas Georgiou.

“In the race to create autonomous systems to support hull cleaning and other essential maintenance jobs on vessels, Alicia Bots has developed stand-out systems that provide huge potential for transforming existing labour-intensive maintenance processes with more efficient and effective AI technology, while also saving on fuel costs and emissions.”

The robots are reportedly expected to be used for more efficient and proactive practices, including:

  • Hull grooming;
  • Cargo hold washing and cleaning;
  • Firefighting;
  • Corrosion detection;
  • Reparation assistance;
  • Data collection;
  • Underwater inspections; and
  • Thickness measurements.

The company's corporate venture lab, Lomar Labs, will also reportedly be involved in the collaboration, giving insight into the development of robotics to support maritime operations, mainly in the push towards establishing autonomous marine drones.

The release states that Lomar intends for the technology to reduce manned maintenance operations in dangerous environments like underwater diving operations for routine cleanings.

Lomar also said that it is making its ships available to Alicia Bots in order to to test new use cases with a project that has received grant-aid from the Singapore Maritime and Port Authority, to test underwater inspections and cleaning.

“Our collaboration with Lomar is a testament to them and the maritime industry's commitment to innovation and sustainability.Together, we are ushering in a new era of hull grooming, where cutting-edge technology, like the Roverclean, not only ensures a clean hull at all times but also paves the way for a greener and more efficient maritime future,” stated Inder Mukhopadhyay, Alicia Bots chief executive.

Similar News

In July, a Sydney, Australia-based startup reportedly developed an autonomous underwater robot that can inspect and clean biofouling on ship hull surfaces. 

The Hullbot is “an underwater drone which inspects, maps and interacts with [and cleans] submerged structures,” Tom Loefler, CEO and Co-Founder of Hullbot, told Cosmos.

According to the company, Hullbot enables gentle cleaning with soft brushes early on in the process, to proactively remove early-stage slime before macrofouling begins without damaging the antifouling paint beneath.

According to the company, Hullbot’s ability to perform frequent, light-duty cleaning could lower the cost of each clean so that it can be done more often.

Additionally, Hullbot developed a proprietary underwater vision system that uses cameras and code, in combination with a number of other sensors, to enable their robot to efficiently navigate underwater, compared to the limitations of traditional GPS-, WiFi- and 5G-based autonomous systems.

The robot reportedly operates with a tether for power and data and is able to swim freely through the water using its thrusters, cleaning the hull with soft, rotating brushes with both the speed and pressure applied controlled without the need for a human operator.

Also, in April 2020, Norwegian paints and coatings manufacturer Jotun (Sandefjord, Norway) announced the launch of Hull Skating Solutions (HSS), a proactive cleaning solution for the maritime industry. 

According to the company’s press release, the HSS offers high performance antifouling, proactive condition monitoring, inspection and proactive cleaning, high end technical service, and performance and service level guarantees.

Developed over several years, the robotic technology can be tailored to specific vessels using a proprietary algorithm and big data to accurately predict fouling development and cleaning schedules, reducing both maintenance and fuel costs.

Running on magnetic wheels equipped with electric motors for propulsion and steering, the HSS is comprised of several cameras and sensors, supporting the operator with data for navigation and documenting fouling on the ship hull.

Depending on the size and condition of a vessel, Jotun reported that HSS can complete an inspection and proactive cleaning on a hull within 2-8 hours. Additionally, the company estimated that if all ships in challenging operations converted to HSS, carbon dioxide emissions would be reduced by at least 40 million tons per year.


Tagged categories: Antifoulants; Asia Pacific; Corrosion protection; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Environmental Control; Health and safety; Latin America; Marine; Marine Coatings; North America; Program/Project Management; Quality control; Robotics; Ships and vessels; Surface preparation; Surface Preparation; Technology; Tools; Tools & Equipment; Z-Continents

Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.