Kawasaki to Test Pipeline Inspection AUV at Scottish Underwater Testing Facility
The Underwater Centre, an underwater training and testing facility in Scotland, has signed an agreement with Kawasaki Heavy Industries in Japan to carry out a verification test of a prototype AUV equipped with a robot arm for subsea pipeline inspection. The test is scheduled for October 2018 at The Underwater Centre in Fort William.
With a focus on the growing demand for pipeline maintenance in offshore oil and gas fields, Kawasaki has been developing component technologies for AUVs based on sophisticated submarine technologies. In November 2017, Kawasaki successfully completed a 15-day verification test for the automated underwater docking of a prototype AUV to its charging station, involving contactless charging and large-capacity optical communication.
Aiming at commercialization in 2020, Kawasaki is currently developing an AUV capable of underwater charging and transferring of inspection data to the mother ship—features that allow for longer deployment time while autonomously locating and tracking pipelines at close range, including those buried under seabed sediment.
For the upcoming test, Kawasaki plans to use a prototype AUV equipped with a robot arm with an attached inspection tool unit to achieve autonomous locating and tracking of subsea pipelines. The 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. —The Underwater Centre