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FEATURE SPONSOR


SPOTLIGHT ON NORWAY


UNDERWATER DRONE TO LOWER COST OF CABLE INSPECTIONS


A Norwegian technology company has developed a low-cost underwater drone that allows offshore wind companies to perform inspection of underwater structures and power cables without the need for divers or expensive ROVs


The Blueye Pioneer underwater drone has been developed by Trondheim- based Blueye Robotics, a company which has sprung out from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s centre for autonomous marine operations and systems (NTNU AMOS).


Today, visual inspections conducted below the sea surface and at the seabed are normally carried out by divers or ROVs. While utilising divers is inefficient and represents significant HSE risks, ROVs have traditionally been very costly and required extensive training – and in most cases an external operator – to manage.


SMARTPHONE TECHNOLOGY “We provide owners and operators of offshore windfarms with an industrial drone that can be operated by everyone capable of using a smartphone or a tablet PC. Perhaps just as important is that it is


priced reasonably at approximately USD 4-5,000 per drone system. This will allow for several drones at each offshore wind farm to make inspections even quicker,” commented Erik Dyrkoren, CEO of Blueye Robotics.


Offshore windfarms regularly require ad-hoc visual inspections below the sea surface, whether it’s checking turbine foundations, array cables, export cables or general site seabed movement monitoring.


The Blueye Pioneer drone has been developed by world-leading subsea experts experienced with harsh Norwegian offshore conditions. It is designed to satisfy industrial reliability requirements, but with a user-friendliness you normally associate with consumer technology products.


LIVE VIDEO The drone is equipped with powerful


thrusters that allows it to operate in heavy currents and dive to 150 metres water depth. Live video is transmitted via a thin umbilical cable to the surface and thereafter wirelessly to the user. The drone is compact (45cm x 25cm x 35cm) and weighs only seven kilos.


“In principle, array cables and export cables represent the cash flow from offshore windfarms. To be able to conduct more regular visual inspections of these cables and the surrounding seabed can give operators the opportunity to address potential issues before they become a problem.


Combined with lower than usual capex and an opex close to zero, we believe this drone can make visual inspections more frequent and less cumbersome for operators of offshore windfarms,” added Erik.


Blueye Robotics www.windenergynetwork.co.uk 51


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