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    NEW HOVERING AUV FOR WIND FARM UNDERWATER INSPECTION


    November 23, 2022 - Anonymous

     

      A colossal amount of new subsea Infrastructure will be built In the North Sea to accommodate ambitious offshore wind energy capacity targets before 2030. While this Is clearly needed to minimize Europe's dependence on fossil fuels, the successful expansion of renewable energy production could easily stretch the current offshore services sector In the region to near breaking point.

      If fears that key services such as underwater Inspection are not positioned to meet demand come true, there Is potential for significant delays In wind farm development projects, while operational farms will lose productive time as turbines are shut down until a contractor can be found to carry out the work.

      The Industry Is mobilizing and more work-class ROVs and divers will be available to conduct underwater Inspections. But, to meet the enormity of the challenge-more than ten thousand new turbines will be needed just to meet the German governments latest growth targets-disruptive new methodology and technologies will be needed.

      HOVERING AUV

      One such Initiative Is A.IKANBILIS, an entirely new category of AUV from Singapore-based autonomous vehicle developer BeeX, and supported by European rental and service partner Subsea Europe Services from Its North Sea gateway facilities In Hamburg and Rostock, Germany.

      We call It a Hovering AUV (HAUV) because It can work completely tetherless and without a human In the loop, said Grace Chia, CEO, BeeX. This autonomy combined with advanced machine learning capabilities and next generation duration and current fighting capabilities make it ideally suited to performing offshore underwater Inspection tasks more efficiently than current processes.

      Eschewing the standard AUV torpedo shape to unlock new levels of agility, the real showstopper with A.IKANBILIS Is the level of AIpowered autonomy that BeeX has developed. Not content with delivering an AUV that requires expert oversight, BeeX has aimed for level 5 autonomy and In doing so, reduces the need for expert operators and support staff.

      Further still, BeeX autonomy controller leverage machine learning algorithms to continuously approve Its effectiveness, from better recognizing targets of interest through to planning faster and more energy saving routes around specific areas of a wind farm.

      The Idea Is to engender more cost-effective underwater Inspection services, so that providers can leverage the business opportunities generated by offshore wind's planned growth, said Soren Themann, CEO, Subsea Europe Services. We don't view A.IKANBILIS as a replacement for ROVs and divers, but its super powerful AI is a platform for contractors to easily expand their capacity and augment their capabilities with a highly capable autonomous solution.

      LAUNCH & LEAVE

      While on tour at various sites since 2021, the potential of such highlevel autonomy was demonstrated In full for the first time on an operational wind farm In September this year. A team from BeeX and Subsea Europe Services, together with North Sea wind farm owner Nordsee One set A.IKANBILIS loose to approach an underwater Inspection of operational wind turbine foundations and monopiles, In whichever way It saw best.

      It was a pure launch and leave mission with the goal to demonstrate how the efficient deployment and recovery, and true autonomous operation can unlock a step change In underwater Inspection, said Soren Themann, CEO, Subsea Europe Services. The system performed exactly as expected, carrying out all of Its tasks without Intervention from an operator, all from a very minimal Initial Instruction set.

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