Saudi Aramco’s Underwater Robot Passes Field Test

Marine Department acting manager Mohammad A. Al Sultan uses augmented reality goggles to watch video footage of the SWIM-R testing as Fadl Abdellatif holds the controller.

Saudi Aramco’s underwater inspection robot, the Shallow Water Inspection and Monitoring Robot (SWIM-R), was recently field tested at the Ras Tanura West Pier with the help of the Marine Department.

SWIM-R capabilities were validated by carrying out multiple inspection tasks on underwater pipelines. The robot performed visual inspection, marine-life cleaning, and ultrasonic thickness readings, as well as cathodic protection voltage measurements.

After the field test, the Research and Development Center (R&DC) presented the technology as a part of the stage-gate review process.

The Marine Department proposed to fund two additional units of SWIM-R for immediate deployment.

Moving forward, the entire project team will support the Technology Strategy and Planning Department during the deployment stage to ensure that the technology is deployed in Saudi Aramco facilities and commercialized for the global market.

The technology was developed by the Intelligent Systems Lab of the Oil and Gas Network Integrity Division (OGNI) at the R&DC in close collaboration and partnership with the Underwater Inspection and Repair Unit of the Industrial Services Marine Department.

The project resulted in 11 inventions, including seven that are filed at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The project team consisted of seven research and development (R&D) engineers, one engineer on assignment from the Inspection Department, and two members of the Marine Department.

SWIM-R was designed, developed and field tested in less than two years, allowing for its deployment five months ahead of schedule, the company noted.

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