OTC: Autonomous inspection vehicle available by year-end

Offshore staff

HOUSTON -- Subsea 7 has completed design and construction of its first autonomous inspection vehicle (AIV), in association with Scottish software developer Seebyte.

In-water trials and commissioning is under way, and the first commercial AIV should be available later this year.

During development, the shape of the vehicle changed from the original design. This resulted from the use of the latest computational fluid dynamics modeling to optimize the vehicle’s shape with regard to stability and maneuvrability, while conserving its onboard power resources.

The fully autonomous vehicle can operate for 24 hours on a single charge of its lithium-ion batteries, contained in pressure vessels within the hull. According to Subsea 7, they incur a lower capital cost than pressure- tolerant batteries, and offer much improved cycle lives.

The AIV’s sensor package covers requirements for general visual inspection, and includes advanced sonar technology, `high quality’ video cameras, and low power LED lighting.

Neil Milne, Subsea 7’s VP - Life-of-Field Services, said: “With the arrival of the AIV, subsea structures such as manifolds, wellheads and risers will be able to be inspected by this tetherless technology, significantly increasing flexibility and efficiencies throughout the life-of-field cycle.”


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