Kraken wins award for SeaVision 3D underwater laser imaging system
Kraken Robotics Inc. German subsidiary, Kraken Robotik GmbH, was named a winner in the Carbon Trust's Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) competition. The OWA is a collaborative R&D program funded by nine offshore wind developers and the Scottish Government to reduce the cost of offshore wind energy. Kraken Robotik was one of only four companies selected in the competition.
Kraken will receive hands-on mentoring and advice from the nine OWA industry partners, which collectively represent over 75 percent of the European offshore wind market, as well as a potential opportunity to demonstrate its SeaVision 3D Underwater Laser Imaging System on installed foundations at a fully operational wind farm in Europe. The aim of the competition is to help advanced technologies access the large emerging market and become part of the normal subsea inspection strategy for offshore wind developers.
Michael Stephenson, Project Manager of the Foundations Working Area in the Offshore Wind Accelerator commented, "Kraken's winning technology is an exciting advancement in subsea inspection. Their previous experience in the oil and gas sector shows how transferrable many of the products and skills are to the offshore wind sector, and how it can continue to contribute to the falling costs of offshore wind."
"We are very honored to be a winner in this competition," said Dr. Jakob Schwender, Managing Director of Kraken Robotik GmbH. "Offshore wind turbine inspection is a burgeoning market opportunity that dovetails nicely not only with Kraken's SeaVision technology but also our future Robotics-as-a-Service strategy. Aligning advanced remote sensing capabilities – such as those provided by our SeaVision system – with underwater robotics and predictive analytics should enable the offshore wind industry to make repair and maintenance activities more evidence based. This should enhance safety, increase efficiency and reduce costs and downtime."
Analysis carried out as part of the OWA's Underwater Inspection Methods study has shown that there is a real need for innovation in the offshore wind subsea inspection sector. As of January 2017, there were over 3,500 wind turbines installed in Europe. Over 80 percent of these turbines are built using monopile structures. The European offshore wind industry is predicted to have significant growth over the next 10 years, and the monopile design will continue in popularity.
Current estimates show that around 35 to 40 percent of the monopile fleet, the majority which are pre-2012 structures, have potentially been affected by issues relating to corrosion caused by the harsh marine environment. Additionally, many of the structures built post-2012 require performance monitoring. New structural designs are also coming online, and these will present additional inspection challenges for the industry.
The report, Wind Turbine Operations & Maintenance (O&M) Market - Global Market Size, Trends, and Key Country Analysis to 2025, provides an overview of wind power technology, the value chain, and the introduction about wind turbine O&M market. The global wind O&M market grew from over US$2 billion in 2006 to nearly US$14 billion in 2016. The market is expected to reach over US$27 billion by 2025.
Offshore wind accounted for about 8 percent of the total wind O&M market in 2016, with a market size of over US$1 billion. Offshore wind attracts higher O&M costs in comparison to onshore wind. The harsh operating environment, higher turbine maintenance, higher logistics costs and a lack of skilled manpower make offshore wind services more challenging than the onshore equivalent. It is estimated that the offshore wind O&M market will continue to grow, to reach over US$5 billion by 2025.
SeaVision is the world's first RGB underwater laser imaging system that offers the resolution, range and scan rate to deliver dense full color 3D point cloud images of subsea infrastructure with millimeter accuracy in real time. The initial system is designed for deployment on underwater robotic platforms such as remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs).
Equipped with a high-resolution camera and laser, the system allows operators to reconstruct objects on the seabed in such a way that detailed models can be subsequently produced for 3D visualization. Its 3D imaging capabilities include generation of geo-registered "as-built" models of structures on the seabed or in the water column, survey of subsea infrastructure and comparison against baseline models and detection of structural defects or other out-of-spec conditions that exceed threshold values.
The ability to generate accurate 3D reconstruction of underwater infrastructure is an important requirement for commercial, military and ocean research applications. While sonar is the technology of choice for covering large areas, 3D laser systems such as Kraken's SeaVision provide significantly higher resolution and accuracy at inspection ranges of under 10 meters.
SeaVision uses a full color laser scanning process that's repeated thousands of times per second to generate coordinate values of millions of points on a reflected surface. The coordinates and intensity associated with each reflected laser pulse are processed in real time to generate an ultra high-resolution point cloud. SeaVision produces over 300,000 colored points per second and can reconstruct a 3D object in real-time with typical spatial accuracy of better than 2 millimeters. These datasets can be used to create highly detailed models for 3D visualization, asset management, artificial intelligence and predictive analytics.