Modus Seabed Intervention said it has completed system integration and testing of one of the subsea industries first commercially available hybrid unmanned underwater vehicles.
The Modus hybrid is marketed as one of the first autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV) to feature the capabilities and characteristics of a remotely operated vehicle (ROV).
Working in partnership with Saab Dynamics for over three years, Modus has developed the Saab Sabertooth specification for greater endurance and speed, and is also developing advanced sensor payload packages and operating methodologies.
Having completed a programme of integration tests and trialing both in Sweden and in the UK, the company is said to be preparing the advanced spread for its first commercial deployment. The system will be used in survey and inspection projects in the oil & gas, interconnector and offshore renewables sectors to support pre-engineering, construction support and life-of-field condition monitoring requirements. The company is also working on a number of applications in the oceanographic and defence sectors.
The vehicle can be operated fully autonomously or as a tethered ROV. Whilst conventional AUVs are designed to remain in motion, the hybrid AUV features a thruster pattern that enables it to hover and operate with 6 degrees of freedom, providing a highly differentiated capability for inspection and light intervention applications.
The first vehicle is depth rated to 1,200 metres, which can be upgraded to 3,000 metres to meet project-specific applications. Modus have also developed two deployment and recovery systems; a floating dock for surface deployment and recovery, and a subsea garage allowing for a full de-coupling from the support vessel and for the vehicle to navigate autonomously in and out of the garage on the seabed.
Modus and Saab have entered into a collaboration agreement, focused on research and development to generate a road map to define the future capabilities of hybrid AUV technology. The company is heavily focused on full subsea residency for life of field support, with the autonomous vehicles remaining permanently in situ rather than being deployed from a vessel.
Jake Tompkins, managing director of Modus Seabed Intervention, said: “Our hybrid AUV capability is a game changing development for the subsea industry that innovatively addresses the sector challenges and the current economic environment.
“Our ongoing investments into subsea vehicle development, disruptive innovation and operating processes will ensure our customers can benefit from a differentiated approach to survey, inspection and intervention, providing cost effective, high quality performance.
“The hybrid AUV development and our ongoing partnership with Saab demonstrate our commitment to remain at the forefront of the subsea sector through the application of advanced technology. We are consistently driving innovation to enable our customers to maximise operational efficiencies whilst meeting evolving industry requirements.”