Autonomous inspection vehicle in the spotlightNews // February 20, 2012
An underwater vehicle that will enable subsea inspection of remote and challenging locations in the offshore oil and gas industry, including areas under ice and areas damaged by hurricanes, will come under the microscope at the Subsea Australasia Conference.
The Autonomous Inspection Vehicle (AIV) has been designed and built by Subsea7 and SeeByte Ltd to provide the industry with a valuable tool capable of making a positive contribution to Life of Field operations.
Currently going through performance and qualification testing, the first commercial AIV will be capable of many of the inspection tasks currently carried out by Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV), including regular inspection of risers, pipelines and seabed equipment.
Subsea 7’s Vice President Asia, Dick Martin said the AIV represented the next step in the evolution of autonomous systems in the marine environment.
“The system is programed to recognise, through its sensors, specific subsea infrastructure configurations. By comparing what it sees to its world model, the vehicle knows where it is and will then complete its mission accordingly. In short, it thinks for itself within a predefined mission plan, as opposed to the ROV which has a human interface via a tether back to the mother vessel,” he said.
His presentation at this week’s Subsea Australasia Conference will outline some of the technical challenges in creating the vehicle and how the use of advanced simulation linked to practical testing is being used to ensure the performance of the system.
“The use of sensory gathered data within a subsea control system is a hugely challenging one. The nature of the environment, the specific visual data observation required and the variety of subsea infrastructure that needs to be recognised, means that the AIV had to be designed to make it agile and easily maneuverable round subsea infrastructure,” said Mr Martin.
Mr Martin said the AIV promised to be a particularly effective solution for fixed platforms in remote areas or areas where the flexibility of an instant visual inspection appraisal is desirable.
“The AIV is part of the new technologies that will enable inspection of remote and challenging areas, such as under ice. It also offers convenient and quick post hurricane inspections and can be deployed for environmental monitoring and within the offshore renewable market,” he explained.
Mr Martin’s presentation will kick off an entire session devoted to advances in AUV (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle) technologies at the Subsea Australasia Conference.
A joint initiative between Subsea Energy Australia, Subsea UK, the Society for Underwater Technology (SUT) and the Australasian Oil & Gas Exhibition & Conference (AOG), the conference is Australia’s largest subsea event for 2012.
The Subsea Australasia Conference is happening at Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre from 22-24 February. To register visit www.subseaconference.com.au