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Remote and autonomous operation

[ Elaine Maslin reports from the show floor at Subsea Expo in Aberdeen this week for Offshore Engineer and Marine Technology Reporter ]


The coronavirus pandemic helped accelerate the move towards the use of remote technology, but regulation, acceptance, and access to skilled people were heard today (Wednesday, March 23) at the Undersea Expo. It is the second day of.

On the show floor, companies such as SAAB, IKM Subsea, and L3 are exhibiting unmanned aircraft in remote areas. These technologies are increasingly being tested and demonstrated, either alone or in combination, from remotely operated ROVs and autonomous underwater vehicles to unmanned surface vessels.

Ben PolardCEO of IKM Subsea International told us The Merlin UCV resident ROV in the Snorre B field off the coast of Norway recorded the longest undersea deployment last month, recording 112 days in the pilot before piloting. The company also controlled the ROV of a Filipino cable laying vessel from its Norwegian office 11,000 km away.

However, regulations on the use of USVs, which many in particular now want to deploy ROVs, remain a challenge. Speaking in a session on autonomous technology, Sam TaylorOcean Infinity’s Business Development Manager says regulation is behind the technology.

David Lenny, I also agree with the Technical Manager of the Autonomous Division of Unique Group. He said in the same session: “The regulatory framework for using USVs is very unclear and hinders things. Technology is advancing and things are tricky. The UK and IMCA are boating all USVs instead of remote sensors. He referred to an ongoing debate about the need for life-saving buoys and rafts at the USV. “At some point, is it ridiculous for a 3m boat?” He asked, ironically. “Therefore, there is a lot of resistance as to what the available technologies can do.”

For more traditional ROV operations, some say the challenge is about business momentum and demand. Andrew Manson, TechnipFMC’s OneFleet Marine Newbuilds and Sustainability Manager said: “If you want to create a remote operation, you need a strong business driver. The ultimate goal is to make the operation more efficient. If I take three people off the ship and the operation takes three hours longer, It’s not necessarily an increase in efficiency. In modern ROVs, it’s about supervised autonomy. ROVs do things on demand. But pilots are still on board. Powerful to make it work. I need a business driver. “

Polard of IKM’s submarine intervention states: We also believe that more people are on land in the future, as it will be cost-effective and cost-saving. He says the use of remote technology is client-driven. However, there are barriers to communication. The Norwegian sector has a strong fiber optic network, vehicle control is possible, and it is built in the UK, but not so much elsewhere, which means it depends on the available 4G or satellites. To do. The latter will improve as launches increase, such as low earth orbit satellites with short signal latency.

Jim Jamison Strategy and Technology Manager – Subsea 7’s UK & Global IRM states that technology needs to be accessed, captured and accepted, and timed to take hold. Covid has created needs, technology is there, and the pandemic has helped facilitate its use, especially around ROV remote pilots, he says. But there are still challenges, he said. Communication is better, but low latency is important, and while low earth orbit satellites are coming, they aren’t here yet, he says. Data security when working on different communication networks is not only a challenge, but also the ability to get high quality video. Each vehicle also needs to be configured, he says – more standardization will make life easier.

SAAB Seaeye’s Sabertooth has been involved in many tests on certifying resident ROV systems, and has recently been tried autonomously with one of the vehicles tested in an autonomous docking procedure by service company Modus Seabed Intervention. There is a modified version of another vehicle planned. Power system off the coast of Hawaii later this year.

Peter Arkers, SAAB’s Underwater Systems Sales Director says technology is there, but there is a lot of conservatism. “As always, someone needs to be the first. Everyone seems to be looking around and waiting for someone to be the first to gain experience. That’s why it’s very slow.” USV Many other technological developments are progressing rapidly, such as, which means that the strategy has changed. However, he confirms that all major ROV operators now have a remote operation center and vehicles such as SAAB, which is electric, are equipped with more automation, reducing delay issues. I am.

Another challenge pointed out in the autonomous session was the amount of “white hair in the room.” “As an industry, we recognize that we’re having a hard time getting people into the industry. It wasn’t a recent Covid pandemic, and town transformation was very difficult for the industry,” said Jamieson. I am. “It’s recognized that it’s not a cool place to work. We need that green transition and we’re working on it.” If new people don’t come in and learn from “white hair,” the industry loses. You have to experience a whole new learning curve.

Taylor agrees. Ocean Infinity is recruiting people from the gaming industry for the technology it employs, but understands that it also needs a hydrographer and that the number of people graduating from hydrography courses is declining. doing.

https://www.oedigital.com/news/494548-subsea-expo-day-2-remote-and-autonomous-ops-are-the-trend-barriers-remain Remote and autonomous operation

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