A new era in autonomous subsea inspection technology

A groundbreaking new vehicle that will enable subsea inspection of remote and challenging locations in the offshore oil and gas industry was launched in Australia at the recent Subsea Australasia Conference.
The Autonomous Inspection Vehicle (AIV) was designed and built by Subsea7 and SeeByte to provide the offshore industry with a tool capable of weathering harsh environments, including areas under ice or areas damaged by hurricanes. Now undergoing performance and qualification testing, the fi rst commercial AIV will be capable of many of the inspection tasks currently carried out by remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), including regular inspection of risers, pipelines and seabed equipment.
Subsea7 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 programmed to recognise, through its sensors, specifi c subsea infrastructure confi gurations. By comparing what it sees to its world model, the vehicle knows where it is and will then complete its mission accordingly,” Mr Martin said. “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.
Mr Martin said the AIV showed particular promise as an effective solution for fixed platforms in remote areas, or areas where the flexibility of an instant visual inspection appraisal was desirable.
A presentation by Mr Martin at the Subsea Australasia Conference was part of an entire session devoted to advances in autonomous underwater vehicle technologies.

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