Technology advances will drive AUV growth

Offshore staff

FAVERSHAM, UKAutonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) remain niche assets for the oil and gas sector, but there is potential for greater take-up, according to analyst Douglas-Westwood (DW).

Technological advancement is driving growth: in the last few years units AUVs have developed the flexibility to perform a wider range of tasks that can be changed quickly by operators.

In addition, increasingly compact vessels coming on the market are making these vehicles viable at greater water depths.

Factors preventing wider uptake include limited communication, lack of manipulation ability, and low levels of endurance. Improvements will be critical to increased uptake in future, DW claims, reducing the requirement for human workers, and likely leading to increased accuracy, reliability, and safety.

The analyst cites Eelume’s subsea intervention “snakes” that allow inspection in areas too small for typical tools, as well as being able to potentially manipulate and adjust subsea valves and chokes.

This could be a step toward a fully autonomous subsea development. Statoil recently signed an agreement with Eelume to help accelerate the technology.


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