Many existing robotic systems are driven with complex and often expensive hydraulic systems. Due to the need for a pump, motor, and numerous valves and manifolds, hydraulic systems are typically bulky, heavy and, therefore, power-draining. Moreover, the constant cycling of oil on a hydraulic system—coupled with pressure depth— puts stress on hoses and seals, which can lead to oil contamination and seal failure, as well as costly downtime of the system.
RE2's Maritime Dexterous Manipulation System, on the other hand, is driven by an electromechanical design. Without the added bulk of a motor with a pump, the system is much more lightweight and power efficient than a hydraulic one. Electromechanical systems only use small amounts of oil to compensate for the pressure of depth and do not have as many surfaces to seal. Therefore, they offer greater reliability and require less maintenance while reducing the risk of seal failure, contamination and downtime. Because the system draws less power, a simple electrical battery can serve as the power source. In addition, electromechanical systems only use power when they are in use, allowing the system to remain dormant on the ocean floor for long periods of time and then quickly be “awakened” and ready for use.