Watch a robotic snake swim eerily like the real thing

This mechanical serpent will help fix underwater gear... and maybe freak you out a bit.

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Watch a robotic snake swim eerily like the real thing

Don't be shocked if you see a mechanical snake swimming around undersea equipment in the near future... it (probably) isn't there to kill you. Eelume, Kongsberg Maritime and Statoil are building a robotic snake worker that will inspect (and occasionally fix) underwater gear. Robot snakes are nothing new, but this serpent is both production-ready and almost uncanny in how it moves. By itself, it slithers as if it's stalking prey. Throw in thrusters, however, and it's something else -- it can quickly twist around pipes as if they were only minor obstacles.

The snake isn't yet in service, but it could do a lot to help underwater work when it arrives. The plan is to permanently install these robots on the seabed, where they'll ideally cover the majority of tasks. If all goes well, companies with sea-based operations (such as oil rigs and wind farms) won't need to roll out human-operated vehicles unless there's a serious problem.

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