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Heriot-Watt Team to Develop Robots to Undertake "Risky Offshore Duties"

Heriot-Watt Team to Develop Robots to Undertake "Risky Offshore Duties"


Research and R&D "will limit the need for humans to work in dangerous places for the inspection, repair and maintenance of offshore energy platforms".   

The research will be carried out by the Offshore Robotics for Certification of Assets Hub (ORCA) by Heriot-watt University, the University of Edinburgh, Imperial College London, the University of Oxford and the University of Liverpool, partnered by industry bodies including Total, Chevron, BP, ABB, Cybernetix, ASV, the Wood Group, Sprint Robotics, Kuka, Seebyte, Baker Hughes, Schlumberger, Kawasaki, Subsea 7, the Underwater Centre, Permasense, Schlink, Hydrason Solutions, Tenaris and Guided Ultrasonics Limited.

ORCA is intended to create "robot-assisted asset inspection" and "robot-assisted asset inspection and maintenance technologies that are capable of making autonomous and semi-autonomous decisions and interventions across aerial, topside and marine domains". Heriot-Watt'S Professor David Lane the director of the ORCA Hub, said: "The international offshore energy industry faces many challenges, including near-permanent low oil prices, expensive decommissioning commitments of old infrastructure, particularly in the North Sea, and small margins on the traded commodity price per KWh of offshore renewable energy. "Coupled to this, the offshore workforce is ageing as the new generation of qualified graduates seek less hazardous onshore opportunities. "The goal is to develop shore-operated autonomous and semi-autonomous solutions for inspection, maintenance and decommissioning of offshore energy infrastructure using marine, terrestrial and airborne robotic systems."

More than £14 million has been provided by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, with a further £18 million from more than 30 industry partners and £3.6 million from the university consortium.


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This article abstracted from Mearns Leader, 8th November 2017: Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2017, All Rights Reserved.





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