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The Smart System of ROV Full Control and Precision Monitoring

18/10/2021

Introduction 

Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) are tethered underwater vehicles used to develop and explore oil and gas resources in water depths beyond diver capabilities. More specifically, ROVs typically have video cameras, sonars, pipe-trackers, navigation, positioning sensors, and integrated job-specific tooling for a diverse set of tasks during a project. ROVs provide access to water depths that professional divers cannot typically reach. ROVs also inspect subsea system pipelines and other subsea equipment at these water depths, and their tools and features enable them to perform more complex operations in any conditions.

As a result of their unique skill set and the advancement of ROV technologies, there’s a strong reliance on them in the oil and gas industries for drilling and subsea projects and services to foster deepwater exploration globally. However, although ROVs have numerous benefits, there are also some challenges, including high noise levels, high cost, precision and reliability issues. 

System Requirements

This project focused on providing a technological solution to be implemented on ROVs for Fugro. Fugro is a world-leading provider of independent geotechnical engineering expertise and specialist site investigation services within the offshore oil and gas industry. Their data acquisition, analytics, and advice help clients make informed decisions, facilitate and de-risk complex and technically demanding projects. Some of the specific requirements of Fugro included:

  • Low noise in the container cabin of the ROVs
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • High precision and accuracy
  • Reliability and dependability
  • Scalability
  • Effective space management

System Description

The solution entailed six of Advantech’s UNO-2484G box computers deployed on the ROV’s control and monitoring system. The UNO-2484Gs are embedded automation computers, which have a compact fanless design, are highly ruggedized with an embedded operating system (OS), and capable of withstanding a wide range of operating temperatures (-20° to 60°C).

The data from the ROVs are converted via transmission control protocol (TCP), extracted by an UNO-2484G and stored locally. The data collection, alarm notification, subsea analytics, and dashboard management are all carried out using the system.

Furthermore, UNO-2484G facilitated the deployment of four different systems, which included:

  • ROV Control System: control of ROV movement.
  • ROV Sonar System: control and monitoring of ROV sonar system.
  • ROV Power Control System (SCADA): control and monitoring of overall ROV power system.
  • ROV Subsea Survey System: performs subsea surveys and analytics.

Project Implementation

  • UNO-2484G
  • Ethernet Switch 
  • ROV Control System
  • ROV Sonar System
  • ROV Power Control System (SCADA) 
  • ROV Subsea Survey System

Conclusion

Due to most ROVs’ high noise levels, high cost, precision and reliability issues, a smarter ROV solution was developed by Advantech and Fugro. The solution entailed six of Advantech’s UNO-2484G rugged box computers, which were deployed exclusively to control and monitor ROV systems (ROV Control System, ROV Sonar System, ROV Power Control System (SCADA), ROV Subsea Survey System). In addition, the smart solution also comprises data collection, alarm notification, subsea analytics, and dashboard management on the ROVs for Fugro. 

Overall, the technical requirements were met and exceeded, and the collaborative solution led to a 20% reduction in the noise level in the container cabin of the ROVs due to the UNO-2484G  fanless PCs. Additionally, the solution led to a whopping space-saving of 70% in the ROVs, improved reliability, and a low breakdown rate. It is also worth mentioning that the solution is very cost-effective and scalable for larger projects. 

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