Innovate UK backs Rovco in 3D subsea survey scheme

Subsea technology company, Rovco, has secured Innovate UK funding to develop a 3D visualization system that could revolutionize the way energy companies manage and inspect their subsea assets.

The visualization system is to be developed as part of a two-phase Artificial Intelligence (AI) demonstrator project potentially worth £1 million, according to Rovco.

Working in partnership with the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, the first phase of the project will see Rovco develop the equipment and software required to produce live 3D data from challenging and extreme subsea environments.

As the UK Government’s leading technology innovation and research center for advancing wind, wave and tidal energy, ORE Catapult will provide access to its marine energy testing facilities and will assist in the delivery of project outputs to a wide range of end users.

The second phase of the project will include the development of a complete 3D vision-based survey solution using AI.

The technology could reduce offshore inspection costs by up to 80%, exploiting recent advances in both camera technology and embedded graphic processing, while using small, intelligent, autonomous robotic vehicles, according to Rovco.

Brian Allen, Rovco Chief Executive and Founder, said: “We aim to deliver a step change in how offshore surveys are performed by generating live 3D data from survey-class ROVs to increase efficiencies, reduce costs and minimize risks.

“Compared to traditional visual survey methods, 3D delivers precise measurements and reliable metrics for asset condition monitoring. Combining this with the use of AI to better analyse and understand subsea data, enhances asset integrity decisions and reduces the manpower required, while also speeding up project turnaround times.

“We are looking forward to working alongside the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult to develop a system that could lower subsea inspection and decommissioning costs by 80%.”

The first phase of the project will be 70% supported by Innovate UK, and the remaining 30% will be funded by Rovco.

The planned phase two is expected to be further backed by Innovate UK once technical feasibility is proven. This will see Rovco partner with an autonomous vehicle manufacturer and other innovative subsea companies, the company said.

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