Houston-area marine technology company Nauticus Robotics said it has reached a deal with oil major Shell to advance to the qualification phase for a more efficient means of acquiring subsea integrity data utilizing Nauticus’ Aquanaut and Hydronaut robotic platforms.
The collaboration will enable Shell to add an advanced tool to its subsea asset integrity management lineup. The partners will collaborate with leading inspection tooling service providers, leveraging their expertise and technology to fully integrate into Nauticus’ robotic service solution.
An initial feasibility study for the phase-gated project was recently completed, and the team now moves onto the operational qualification phase, which focuses on remote operations of the robotic duo using supervised autonomy and tool control using Nauticus’ acoustic communication networking technology, Nauticus said. The collaboration is targeting the preliminary work required for an offshore pilot project.
“Working with a leading company such as Shell marks an exciting milestone for Nauticus, and this collaboration further validates the superior capabilities and extensive use cases of our robots across the energy sector,” said Todd Newell, SVP of Business Development at Nauticus. “Implementing our supervised autonomous method – one that has proven more robust and dynamic than most of its kind – is expected to provide our partner and future customers more than 50 percent cost savings compared to today’s methods of operation.”
This collaboration will utilize Nauticus’ flagship and fully electric subsea robot, Aquanaut, which is deployed from the company’ small surface vessel, Hydronaut – which is used for the transport, recharge and communication for Aquanaut, among other tasks. Together, this robotic pair will function as a unified solution. According to Nauticus, their inherent autonomous architectures will allow a transition to far more autonomous operations over conventional solutions.
“An exciting aspect of this project is the opportunity to combine the strengths of advanced inspection tooling with the advanced marine robotic capabilities developed by Nauticus Robotics,” said Ross Doak, Deepwater Robotics Engineer of Shell’s robotics team. “This project aims to fundamentally improve how we collect subsea facility data, through the combination of ‘AUV native’ tooling design, supervised autonomy, and recent improvements in remote communications.”