Underwater technology company Blue Logic has won the Innovation Award 2020 from Norway's ONS, for the development of an open-standard subsea docking station for underwater vehicles.
The award, given in the small and medium-sized enterprises category, was awarded on September 1, during ONS 2020 Digital, this year's variant of ONS, as the main event had to be canceled due to COVID-19.
According to Blue Logic, its seabed installed docking station enables underwater vehicles or drones to be permanently deployed subsea by providing access to power for charging and communications, for upload/download of inspection and assignment data.
"The ability to long-term or permanently deploy underwater drones is seen as a benefit for several underwater applications, enabling a reduction in risk to personnel, who can operate the vehicles from shore, [and] a reduction in the carbon footprint of subsea operations by no longer requiring a support vessel on-site," the company said.
Stig Magnar Lura, General Manager at Blue Logic said Norway's energy giant Equinor has supported the development on the subsea docking station.
He said: “Equinor has been with us at the front throughout this process. Together, we have jointly developed specifications and requirements. By working together in this completely new way, where the focus has been on developing open solutions with a common interface, we believe we have succeeded in a universal solution which all subsea vehicles will be able to utilize."
Helge Sverre Eide, Head of Business Development at Blue Logic said the company has worked with the subsea drone suppliers – Eelume, SAAB, Oceaneering and Saipem – to refine the solution and ensure it's functional for the various players.
Designed and built close to Blue Logic’s headquarters in Sandnes near Stavanger, multiple docking stations have already been tested, including at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) underwater test facility in Trondheimsfjorden, near Trondheim, as well as by SAAB in Sweden, Oceaneering at the Tau Autonomy Center near Stavanger. One is also due to go to Italy where Saipem will verify its functionality with its underwater vehicles.
"This work has been important in maturing drone technology in such a way that it is widely accepted throughout the industry,” adds Eide. “In order to develop a market, we as an industry depend on a broad support where several oil companies use this technology. This is probably the biggest challenge in introducing new technology into a new market, a process that has taken 15 years.”