Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. announced it has completed verification testing of its autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) in U.K. waters.
With a focus on the growing demand for pipeline maintenance in the offshore oil and gas fields, Kawasaki said it has been developing AUVs utilizing sophisticated underwater vehicle technologies fostered in-house over the years, with support from a subsidization project by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT).
The AUV verification test was carried out from November 6 to 20, 2017 at The Underwater Centre, a marine testing and training facility in Fort William, Scotland. Tests at sea used a prototype AUV and a charging station, and included automated docking of the AUV to the charging station, contactless charging, and large-capacity optical communication operations.
During the testing period, representatives from major oil and gas companies, underwater vehicle and equipment operating companies, U.K. government organizations, U.K. subsea scientific societies and other organizations were invited to view demonstrations.
Kawasaki said it plans to pursue full-scale development of a pipeline-inspection AUV which utilizes the automated docking and other component technologies tested in Scotland, as well as control algorithms being developed in cooperation with the U.K.'s Heriot-Watt University, with the aim of commercializing the AUV by the end of FY 2020.