Tethys Robotics Integrates Reach Alpha Grabber for Military EOD and Search & Rescue

Tethys Robotics is an Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) developer founded by Christian Engler and fellow pioneering ETH Zurich students in 2019.

Tethys aims to push boundaries for underwater exploration in Switzerland, where large waterways including lakes and rivers are abundant, as well as contribute to the countries hydroelectric industry. Since Tethys launched with their flagship vehicle, the ‘SCUBA 2.0’ they have found further success with the recent release of ‘Proteus’, an omnidirectional ROV appointed with a stereo camera, depth sensor, IMU, SBL and sonar, certified to 300m depths.

Alongside their research partners ‘Armasuisse’, an armament procurement agency affiliated with Switzerland’s Federal Department of Defense, Tethys aims to produce UUVs for local authorities including the Swiss Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team. The vehicle applications will include rescue diver assistance through robotic interaction, 3D mapping of the seabed, ammunition recovery and search and recovery of underwater targets. Their technology will ultimately minimize risk to rescue divers conducting recovery missions by operating in harsh conditions unsafe for humans, including high currents, turbulence, long dive durations and extreme temperatures.

To assist in achieving these goals, Tethys have integrated Blueprint Lab’s Reach Alpha Grabber to their Proteus UUV. Featuring adjustable grip force, active compliance for safe lifting of heavy, unbalanced objects and quick-change end effectors for mission specificity, the Alpha Grabber is a tough, versatile and proven solution for intervention in harsh subsea environments. In their own words, Tethys describes their success with the manipulator:

“With the Reach Alpha Grabber, we are now able to interact with the environment and the divers underwater. The combination of reliability and robustness of the grabber with the precision and maneuverability of the UUV pushes the frontiers of underwater operations. Furthermore, due to the depth rating of the Reach Alpha, we have no restrictions to operate in any lake or river of Switzerland.”

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