Ballast water is used to stabilize partially loaded or empty ships on the open sea. When needed, ocean or port water is pumped into special ballast water tanks (BWTs) to increase the mass of a ship. Because ocean water is typically contaminated with algae, plankton and other organisms, and due to the aggressive nature of salt water, BWTs are often subject to serious fouling and corrosion. On cruise vessels BWTs are built in those spaces of a ship that cannot be used for other purposes. As a consequence, they are narrow, irregularly shaped, and badly ventilated. They are designed to be accessible to human workers, but are surely a dirty, unhealthy, and unpleasant workplace.
The talk will give an overview of the goals and challenges of the international R & D project "ROT". We will give a summary on the evaluation of available robotic principles potentially suited for BWT inspection and describe the development of a concept for a BWT inspection robot and the first implementation of the concept in a robotic demonstrator.