The prototype was tested in a cage in a weather-exposed locality, to provoke the harses conditions. The prototype went smoothly around the net and performed as planned. The prototype is programmed to move seamlessly around the entire net without any human input.
A completely autonomous and cable-free solution is considered crucial for marked acceptance for the net cleaner, which has been a problem for competing solutions in the market. Probotic have a completely new propulsion system which means that the drone is not affected by ropes, seaweed, kelp or other objects – elements that are guaranteed to meet the drone in its lifetime in the cage. The technology itself and the drone will for the time being be kept somewhat hidden, as several parts of the concept are still being developed and patented.
– Hard work since 2016 is finally starting to yield results! It is fantastic to be able to take an idea from your head and now testing the idea out in real conditions. That the prototype even worked so well was more than I could ever dream of! I had honestly prepared myself for at least some of our hypotheses to turn out to be wrong, but “damn” everything worked as planed says Mikkel Pedersen, general manager of Probotic.
Pedersen believes their key is that they know the problem they are solving and have domain knowledge and have worked with net cleaning for several years before they started Probotic.
– For example, I have been cleaning hundreds of nets over several years myself. The environment in the arctic sea is brutal, and the splash zone is perhaps one of the harshest environments there is. So, to be able to make something work stably over time in the splash zone, requires a special approach. It must be robust to easy. KISS- Keep It Simple Stupid is a way of thinking I have brought with me from my history in the army. And which I really try to implement in the development at Probotic. Most often it is, the very simple stuff that turns out to work best in the end. That said, this is where the work really begins for us! Now we have proven that our concept works so now we must refine the prototype and come with the commercial version. There are still many challenges and we must also expect setbacks on the road ahead. We have a intern goal of market launch already in 2021.
Probotic was established in 2019. The company currently has 6 permanent employees, with offices and workshops in Narvik, as well as an office in Trondheim. Probotic develops an autonomous net cleaner, which continuously keeps the nets clean. Probotic currently has a patent on the method for autonomous cleaning of nets, and has recently brought in new owners and investors.
The company was started on the basis of Mikkel Pedersen’s idee and own experiences from net cleaning, with a desire to contribute to both cost savings for fish farmers and reduce emissions as a result of fish farming. On the owner side of the company are CoFounder from Trondheim, Norinnova and Kupa in northern Norway. Innovation Norway also contributes funds to the project.