Thursday, July 28, 2005

Underwater Robot Lumberjack

Robot lumberjack dives to flooded forests

A chainsaw-wielding robotic submarine is roving beneath Lois Lake in British Columbia, Canada.

The submarine is chopping down a forest submerged decades ago when the valley flooded due to a hydroelectric dam. After it cuts the trees, they float to the surface, where they dry out and are sold to mills for use in furniture and construction.

Triton Logging of Vancouver, British Columbia, has been harvesting them for years by sending divers down with chainsaws and hoisting the waterlogged trunks to the surface. But diving is very slow and dangerous, so Triton has developed a remote-controlled sub to do the job.


Called the Sawfish, the 3-ton, 3.5-metre-long, yellow submersible has high-resolution cameras that an operator on the surface uses to guide it. After grasping the base of the tree in pincer-like arms, it attaches an inflatable flotation bag, which it fills from its compressed air supply. Finally, it uses its 1.5-metre chainsaw to cut the tree and lets go of the trunk, allowing the flotation bag to carry it to the surface for retrieval. Triton's president Chris Godsall said Sawfish can cut 36 trees in three or four hours, operating as far as 300 meters down.

ISA | Robot lumberjack dives to flooded forests

via RoboticsDaily



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