French oil major TotalEnergies has partnered with iXblue to demonstrate collaborative uncrewed capabilities for subsea inspection and asset survey operations.
According to iXblue, successful trials were recently conducted off the coast of La Ciotat in the south of France, deploying two uncrewed platforms: iXblue DriX Uncrewed Surface Vehicle (USV) and Teledyne Gavia Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV).
Both uncrewed platforms were remotely controlled and supervised from iXblue Onshore Control Center, with iXblue DriX USV acting as a communication gateway between the onshore control center and the Gavia AUV. The two drones were able to successfully communicate together, thanks to the Gaps USBL positioning system installed within the DriX gondola, and that tracked the Gavia AUV, iXblue said.
"With these sea trials, we were able to successfully demonstrate the combination of two light drones working in a collaborative mode, remotely controlled and supervised from the shore. Thanks to the DriX USV, we were able to track the Gavia AUV and send it new mission plans to allow the AUV to closely inspect some defined subsea features, all from the safety of the onshore control center,” says Mathieu Lardeux, R&D Project Manager at TotalEnergies.
Reduced risk to personnel
"This opens up great possibilities for future multi-energy offshore developments. Replacing the use of conventional large, crewed inspection and survey vessels with uncrewed solutions such as the DriX USV will allow us to reduce offshore risk for personnel, decrease operational costs and lower the carbon footprint of our offshore operations.”
“We are delighted to have been able to demonstrate our capability to conduct collaborative surface/subsea autonomous vehicles operations to TotalEnergies. This broadens the range of applications of our DriX USV, and especially for deeper waters operations, where the use of AUV is necessary. We now look forward to the next steps in our collaboration and to conduct an operational survey on one of TotalEnergies Offshore field in the near future,” adds Olivier Cervantes, VP Energy Markets at iXblue.