Japanese AUV trials at The Underwater Centre

Posted on 21 Jul 2018 and read 761 times
Japanese AUV trials at The Underwater CentreThe Underwater Centre in Fort William — a leading sub-sea training and trials centre
— has signed an agreement with Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd (KHI) to carry out a verification test of a prototype AUV equipped with a robot arm for sub-sea pipeline inspection (www.theunderwatercentre.com).

The test, scheduled for October, will be the first of its kind in the world. Steve Ham, commercial director at
The Underwater Centre, travelled to Tokyo for the signing of the agreement, which was witnessed by Fiona Hyslop, Scottish cabinet secretary for culture, tourism and external affairs.

As a purpose-built sub-sea training and trials facility, The Underwater Centre incorporates an extensive pier complex, including four dive stations, classrooms, workshops and decompression chambers, plus mechanical and electrical workshops, and a 1.5 million-litre indoor tank that is part of its ROV training suite.

Last November, KHI successfully completed a 15-day verification test of the automated underwater docking of a prototype AUV to its charging station.

With a focus on the growing demand for pipeline maintenance in offshore oil and gas fields, KHI has been developing leading-edge component technologies for AUVs, based on advanced submarine technologies developed in-house over many years.

Aiming at commercialisation in 2020, KHI is currently developing an AUV capable of underwater charging and transferring inspection data to the mother ship, along with autonomously locating and tracking pipelines, including those buried under seabed sediment.

The upcoming test will focus on verifying the robot arm’s capability to absorb the movement of the AUV due to tidal currents, as well as verifying that the inspection tool unit can continuously track a pipeline under those conditions.

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