Oil and gas technology centre accelerates offshore robotics

gasOil and gas and robotics specialists collaborated during the Oil & Gas Technology Centre’s recent Robotics Week to identify 15 potential projects that could accelerate the use of robotics offshore.

More than 250 people took part in a series of workshops and tech talks at the centre’s Innovation Hub in Aberdeen. Participants also had the chance to get ‘hands on’ with 18 robots and explore their wide variety of functions.

Leading international robotics academics joined experts from other industries, including manufacturing and defence, to share insights on the latest advances and applications of robotics technology. 
A team of experts from the oil and gas and robotics industries took part in a two-day, facilitated workshop to identify uses cases and technology gaps for the application of air, land, and sea-based robotics in the offshore energy industry.

The workshop identified a range of use cases, including:

  • Air: Fully autonomous drones that can plan and navigate their own flight path.
  • Land: Small, highly agile robots that can autonomously, climb, navigate and perform inspections, with little or no human intervention and support.
  • Sea: A pipeline intervention gadget (PIG) that is autonomous, adaptable, reliable, multifunctional and capable of working in harsh environments.

The Centre’s Asset Integrity Solution Centre is reviewing the output of the technology gap analysis to identify potential themes for a future ‘Call for Ideas’ and future projects for co-funding and support with industry partners.

The analysis will also inform research programmes for the recently announced and Edinburgh Centre for Robotics-led, ORCA Hub, which aims to advance robotics and artificial intelligence technologies for the inspection, repair, maintenance and certification of offshore energy platforms and assets.

Rebecca Allison, Asset Integrity Solution Centre Manager at the Oil & Gas Technology Centre, said: 
“Robotics Week has provided clear development areas and issues to be addressed if we’re to deliver a robotics revolution for the oil and gas industry. We’re reviewing the technology gap and look forward to continuing the collaboration as we try to make the use cases a reality.”