Unmanned operations in deep water using advanced, deep sea robotics that automatically carry out complex tasks, is the technological challenge we have taken on with our resident, robotic solution called Hydrone.

Hydrones are subsea drones designed, created and developed by Sonsub, Saipem's subsea technology and equipment development centre, based in Marghera and Trieste, Italy. They are the technological answer to seabed operations in various business sectors:

  • to inspect, operate and service equipment and components in the offshore energy sector for both traditional and renewable energy generation installations;

  • to monitor infrastructures, e.g. tunnels to cross fjords and bridges to connect opposite coastlines;

  • to support, inspect and intervene on fish farms;

  • to identify, study and monitor fish species;

  • to digitally reconstruct the seabed morphology;

  • to monitor water quality;

  • for deep water emergency and first aid interventions

The Hydrones are the latest frontier in the field of subsea robotics.


They can dive to a depth of up to 3,000 metres without any cable connections to the surface, they can travel up to 100 km from their point of immersion between one battery recharge and the next and can be used continually for stationary work on the seabed for up to twelve months.

All three types are configured in accordance with each client's requirements with bespoke accessory instruments and functions. Furthermore, they are designed based on the most advanced criteria of sustainability and offer energy, environmental and safety benefits, as they enable the ship's CO2 emissions to be cleared and the corresponding operational risks to be reduced.

The Hydrones confirm Saipem's commitment to green technologies in practical terms. In future, we will see a crucial increase in the demand for autonomous resident solutions. Our subsea drones, Flatfish and Hydrone, are ready to tackle current and future demands and will take advantage of key factors, such as digital and AI solutions.


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We have developed a range of drones, which now includes three models of increasing power

FlatFish or Hydrone-S

Is the smallest. It works as a ROV (Remotely operated vehicle) and an AUV (Autonomous underwater vehicle). It is actually designed to autonomously inspect subsea resources without the support of a vessel. This robot can be launched from a fixed, open sea platform or directly from the coast and then placed on the seabed inside a ROV garage. Flatfish enables the CO2 footprint for this type of operation to be reduced by 90% and the number of personnel by 72%, which provides clients with a more cost-effective solution.


Is a mid-range drone, which can combine inspections and interventions thanks to its robotic arms and multi-purpose tools. Hydrone-R also works as a ROV and AUV. It received the Spotlight on New Technology award in 2021 at the Offshore Technology Conference, an event that acknowledges the latest, most innovative technologies for revolutionising the future of offshore energy.


Takes Hydrone technology to the next level, as it is entirely electric (WROV, i.e. a Work-Class Remotely Operated Vehicle). Its 240 CV (180 kW) make it the most powerful and enable it to perform under the most difficult conditions. This ROV will be equipped with a revolutionary propulsion and power management system to reduce energy consumption during operations.

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