China Using Underwater Drones in South China Sea

China dropped a dozen underwater drones, also known as unmanned underwater vehicles, in an unspecified location in the South China Sea to carry out “scientific observations,”according to state-run media outlet Xinhua. The torpedo-shaped vehicles — called Haiyi, or sea wings in Mandarin — will remain underwater for a month, according to reports.   https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/12/china-uses-underwater-drones-in-south-china-sea.html

Atlas Elektronik Wins UK Order for Over 30 Workboats

Atlas Elektronik UK (AEUK) has been awarded a contract valued at £48m for the supply and support of up to 38 Common Workboats for the UK’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) over a six-year period. Ranging in size from 11 to 18 meters, the multi-role ‘SEA Class’ vessels share common components and will be modular in design. This unique approach enables rapid reconfiguration for a range of specialized operational roles, including: Dive support; Explosive Ordnance Disposal; Officer training; Passenger transport; Arctic exploration, Hydrographic survey and Logistic re-supply. UK’s Ministry of Defence orders over 30 workboats from Atlas Elektronik    

The Autonomous Future of Seabed Mapping

Autonomous solutions are the future of seabed mapping as they are far more efficient than traditional methods of mapping. Autonomous surface vehicles (ASVs), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) can be deployed from almost anywhere, with state-of-the-art guidance systems which make for better survey progress, and fewer infill lines. In addition to improvements in safety and data quality, the data from autonomous systems can be processed immediately, thus spotting issues early in the project and raising the efficiency of the survey process. https://www.marinetechnologynews.com/news/autonomous-future-seabed-mapping-549603

Tapping into AUVs Potential

The capabilities of autonomous underwater vehicles have matured, but their full potential for offshore oil and gas operations remains untapped. AUVs first became available to the oil and gas industry in 1999. But adoption has been slow as oil and gas companies have preferred to stick with existing tools such as vessels and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). BP is seeking to change that with its 2017 Internal Challenge, where they aim to cut underwater pipeline inspection costs 50% by 2020. Tapping AUV Potential June 2017

Boeing Begins Deep Sea Adventure

Boeing began sea trials of its massive 51-foot Echo Voyager extra large unmanned undersea vehicle (XLUVV). Initial testing was done in Boeing’s Huntington Beach facility where Echo Voyager was tested in a large pool before being trucked to the Pacific. Echo Voyager has been reported to be capable of operating autonomously over long distances (for example from San Francisco to Hong Kong) and given its size can carry a variety of different payloads. While best known for its airplanes, Boeing has a long history in the underwater domain. http://www.boeing.com/features/2017/05/echo-voyager-test-05-17.page

Industry M&A – L3 Acquires Ocean Water Power

L3 Technologies acquired Open Water Power, Inc. on May 19, 2017. The terms were not disclosed. The business will be renamed L3 Open Water Power and will be integrated into L3’s Sensor Systems business segment. Based in Somerville, Massachusetts, Open Water Power is developing safe and high-energy-density undersea power generation technologies for use by Unmanned Undersea Vehicles (UUVs) and other maritime platforms. Its breakthrough technology enables safe power generation solutions for UUVs and results in significant safety and endurance improvements over current technologies. Additionally, the company’s capabilities complement and are applicable to L3’s existing portfolio of maritime platform, sensor and payload offerings. “The acquisition of Open Water Power aligns with L3’s disciplined growth strategy by adding an important new technology to our portfolio in the growing UUV market,” said Michael T. Strianese, L3’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. https://finance.yahoo.com/news/l3-acquires-open-water-power-130000482.html    

Digitalization Driving Value Creation

Statoil is establishing a digital center of excellence and launching a roadmap with specific programs for digitalization to improve the safety, security and efficiency of Statoil operations. Towards 2020 Statoil expects to invest NOK 1-2 billion in new digital technologies, accelerating the digital roadmap work. Digital technologies will also be part of other Statoil technology and research projects. One area of focus is robotics and remote control whereby Statoil is looking to increase the operational regularity, reduce costs and improve safety and security by reducing human activity in physically intensive activities. https://www.statoil.com/en/news/digitalisation-driving-value-creation.html

New Ideas for AUVs

AUVs (autonomous underwater vehicles) are increasingly being used for pipeline surveys and other offshore applications. But they hold potential for wider use, which is dependent on operators pushing for advances. “We’ve been at this thing for 20 years; a large number of the technology elements have been there for 15 years. It’s just that the offshore industry has not consistently pursued them.” Speaking at a technical session on the opening day of the Offshore Technology Conference, Andy Hill, Global Geohazards Technical Authority at BP, added that most technical papers continue to “look at what we know we can do” instead of taking a view of the future with the already-existing capabilities. https://www.spe.org/en/ogf/ogf-article-detail/?art=2945

Industry M&A – L3 Technologies Acquires Ocean Server

L3 Technologies has acquired Massachusetts-based OceanServer Technology, a designer and maker of autonomous underwater vehicles. The acquisition brings a complementary line of products to L3’s portfolio of sensor and communication systems, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance equipment, and anti-submarine warfare and mine counter-measures. “OceanServer Technology positions L3 to support the U.S. Navy’s vision for the tactical employment of UUVs,” said L3’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael T. Strianese. “This acquisition also enhances our technological capabilities and strengthens our position in growth areas where we see compelling opportunity. https://www.pddnet.com/news/2017/04/l3-technologies-acquires-autonomous-underwater-robot-manufacturer

Large Diameter UUV Planned by US Navy for 2019

The US Navy has designated the Snakehead Large Displacement Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (LDUUV) for accelerated acquisition. Unmanned maritime systems are part of the Littoral Combat ship portfolio, the first class of ship designed from initial construction for unmanned vehicle integration. LDUUVs in the Class III Large category, which the Snakehead is part of, are about 48 inches in diameter. The Snakehead LDUUV is intended to have long-range and high endurance capacity and designed for surface or submarine launch. It will be able to be recovered and stored on littoral combat ships, Virginia-class submarines, and Ohio-class submarines, according to an earlier NAVSEA release. https://defensesystems.com/articles/2017/04/06/uuv.aspx

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