Towards autonomy in ROV operations
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Original versionIFAC-PapersOnLine. 2015, 48 (2), 183-188. 10.1016/j.ifacol.2015.06.030
This paper presents an on-going research project focusing on the development of technology to enable autonomy in ROV operations. The project is a collaborative project between Norwegian offshore industry and academia. Currently, there is a large focus in research on the development of navigation, guidance and control for autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV). This is important as there will be a future demand for subsea inspection, maintenance and repair (IMR) operations with non-cabled systems. A future scenario is to have AUVs stationed on the seafloor in subsea garages. However, state of the art for IMR operations on the Norwegian Continental Shelf is to apply vessel supported ROVs in IMR operations. Efficiency in such operations will imply large cost and time savings. Increased autonomy enables the ROV operator to shift from manual to automatic control utilizing autonomous functions for a number of specific tasks. The research project presented in this paper is novel and the goal is to improve the capabilities of the ROV leaving the operator mainly to supervise operation. The paper discusses different aspects of the technology requirements. This may be useful for researchers working in the area of AUV research, relating this research to industrial needs. The presented project will develop novel integrated sensor platforms with robust perception methods and collision-free motion planning algorithms for subsea inspection and light intervention operations. Moreover, the project will also focus on subsea factory design enabling autonomous operations. The results will be tested, verified and demonstrated in full-scale test beds, as well as at an offshore location.