New Subsea Resident Vehicle Solution Taking Shape
Ocean energy solutions innovator Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) said it it is working with joint development partners Modus Seabed Intervention and Saab Seaeye to develop a new solution for carbon-free subsea autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) residency that would provide long-term, persistent deployment without support from manned vessels.
“We believe a self-contained system powered by an OPT PowerBuoy and exempt from existing ocean infrastructure has the potential to revolutionize the industrial use of AUVs and make long-term residency a cost-effective reality,” said George Kirby, OPT President and Chief Executive Officer.
“Modus Seabed Intervention’s experience with advanced technology development efforts in subsea docking with Saab Seaeye’s market-leading hybrid AUV (HAUV) enables autonomous offshore operations and we believe it is a natural fit for our environmentally sound PowerBuoy ocean power and communications technology,” Kirby added.
Remote operation without the need for surface vessel support or complex power and data umbilical cable systems to offshore platforms or land has the potential to offer tremendous savings over operations that would otherwise require manned vessels – including long-term environmental monitoring, frequent subsea equipment integrity inspections, and interaction with seafloor assets.
This novel system is designed for carbon-free autonomous offshore operations with the OPT PowerBuoy power and communications platform at its core. Via an innovative integrated mooring and subsea power/data transmission cable, a PowerBuoy can provide carbon-free power to a seabed docking station to recharge an autonomous underwater vehicle while enabling secure data transmission to and from shore-based operations located anywhere in the world.
The autonomous resident AUV system concept has been jointly submitted for U.S. government development and demonstration project funding consideration.
The ongoing electrification of offshore applications finds underwater vehicles increasingly utilized for defense and security surveillance, as well as for seafloor mapping and asset maintenance in oil and gas, as well as science and research. Increasing the length and variety of missions an AUV can undertake can drive down costs and risks, and true autonomous control with access to data in real time is a goal for operators. An autonomously powered interactive docking station independent of traditional infrastructure offers efficiency in routine operations and facilitates timely response to ad hoc events (extreme weather, subsea equipment failure) more rapidly than possible with surface-based vessels.