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Kawasaki tests AUV docking in Scottish waters

Written by  OE Staff Thursday, 23 November 2017 05:30

Japan's Kawasaki Heavy Industries has completed a verification test on an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) which can dock autonomously to re-charge subsea in UK waters.

With a focus on the growing demand for pipeline maintenance in the offshore oil and gas fields, Kawasaki has been developing AUV technology, with support from a subsidization project by Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT).

The AUV verification test was carried out from November 6-20 at The Underwater Centre, a marine testing and training facility in Fort William, Scotland. 

Tests at sea used a prototype AUV and a charging station, and included automated docking of the AUV to the charging station, contactless charging, and large-capacity optical communication operations.

Kawasaki plans to pursue full-scale development of a pipeline-inspection AUV which utilizes the automated docking and other component technologies tested in Scotland, as well as control algorithms being developed in cooperation with the UK's Heriot-Watt University, with the aim of commercializing the AUV by the end of FY 2020.

During the testing period, representatives from major oil and gas companies, underwater vehicle and equipment operating companies, UK government organizations, UK subsea scientific societies and other organizations interested in Kawasaki’s AUV development efforts were invited to view demonstrations. 

AUVs operate autonomously carrying out preassigned missions. To date, AUVs are retrieved to be recharged. Doing this autonomously underwater can enable longer deployment time and reduce the frequency of launch and recovery operations. 

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