Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Ultra-deepwater and Unconventional Resources Program)
Autonomous Inspection of Subsea Facilities
Florida Atlantic University
Seanic Ocean Systems
Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) are becoming more capable and reliable. Implementation of AUV-based IRM in ultra-deepwater fields will provide game-changing improvements in cost, performance, safety and reliability that will enable cost effective production of these smaller deepwater fields. Industry advances in autonomy used on Unmanned Ground and Air vehicles may be transitioned to existing AUVs enabling the capability to perform autonomous inspections and light intervention. Incremental demonstration of such AUV capabilities will be required to convince Field Operators that the reliability, safety, and capabilities of these systems are acceptable for deepwater operations.
Lockheed Martin will develop, integrate and test technology for autonomously conducting a pre/post hurricane inspection of a facility. This will include integrat-ing existing capabilities for (1) Autonomous real-time imaging and reconstruction (3D model) of an underwater facility, (2) Detection and highlighting of changes to the facility and (3) Aiding the AUVís navigation along its path based on feature detection and recognition. The project will include an offshore demonstration providing increased operator confidence of AUV capabilities for use in a deepwater field environment. Lockheed Martin MS2 will be the overall project lead incorporating autonomous technology from within the corporation augmented by expertise from Florida Atlantic University and Seanic Ocean Systems.
Significant facility O&M cost savings can be achieved through the reduction or elimination of surface vessel operations, reduced vessel mobi-lization costs, reduced manpower, and increased inspection efficiency. Analysis suggests that an AUV with appropriate autonomy and sensors, will 1) perform subsea structural inspection tasks up to four times more efficient than ROVs or divers, 2) reduce the surface footprint by 75%, and 3) eliminate the need for DPII support vessels with large ROV spreads for inspection operations. When conducting inspections of deepwater subsea installations, the performance improvement and cost savings become even more dramatic, accommodating longer subsea tieback distances and making the development of smaller, remote deepwater fields more economically viable.
Principal Investigator: Dan McLeod
Phase 1 Final Report [PDF-1.41MB]
Phase 2 Final Report [PDF-1.97MB]