Uni-President China has been granted a patent for a modular underwater robot and its control method. The robot includes support plates, chambers for control and energy components, and a power assembly with fixed vector thrusters and vertical thrusters, improving the robot’s flexibility and movement capabilities. GlobalData’s report on Uni-President China gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData, Uni-President China's grant share as of September 2023 was 53%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Modular underwater robot with improved flexibility and control

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Uni-President China Holdings Ltd

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11753127B1) describes a modular underwater robot with various innovative features. The robot consists of two stacked support plates with an interval between them. The front end edges of the support plates have a first hollow portion, while the rear end edges have a second hollow portion. A blocking portion separates the two hollow portions. The support plates also have mounting holes and inclined portions at the four corners.

The robot includes a first chamber in the first hollow portion to store a control component and a second chamber in the second hollow portion to store an energy component. Both chambers are in the same horizontal position. The power assembly of the robot comprises fixed vector thrusters and vertical thrusters. The fixed vector thrusters are located at the inclined portions, with their pushing direction parallel to the inclined portions. The vertical thrusters are placed in the mounting holes, with their pushing direction perpendicular to the support plates.

The patent also describes additional features of the modular underwater robot. Both ends of the first chamber have end caps with a first sealing structure, while both ends of the second chamber have end caps with a second sealing structure. The first and second sealing structures ensure proper sealing between the end covers and the inner walls of the chambers. Multiple via holes are present in the first and second orifice plates for cables to pass through.

The robot also includes connection portions between the two support plates, each consisting of a support unit and a connection unit. Both side edges of the support plate have a third hollow portion with a modular interface. The robot further incorporates a mechanical arm with a main shaft, a clamping structure, and positioning components.

The patent also covers a method for controlling the modular underwater robot. The control signal is sent to the robot through a relay terminal using a 5G signal. The robot adjusts its attitude based on input and current attitude information. It can also detect obstacles, estimate their distance, and generate obstacle avoidance signals. Additionally, the robot can recognize defects, adjust its attitude accordingly, and measure the size of the defect.

Overall, this granted patent presents a modular underwater robot with unique design features and control methods, potentially enhancing underwater exploration and operations.

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GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.