Opportunities and challenges of marine robotics in the energy sector

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TG relation: Marine Robotics 

Areas mainly addressed: Maintenance and Inspection, Robotics and AI/Big Data Value, Autonomy, Collaborative Robots and cloud robotics 

Main questions to be answered: 

· How marine robotics is and will be able to improve operations in the energy sector? 

· Which are the most promising technologies in this field? 

· Which are the most difficult challenges to be solved? 

WS Description: Oceans represent a huge source of energy. Offshore oil and gas extraction account for 37 per and 28 per cent of global production, respectively. Novel energy production methods, such as wind turbines, have been rapidly deployed. 

Robotics has been widely used to support these activities. Traditionally, remotely operated vehicles have been employed in Gas&Oil plants, for inspection and maintenance tasks. 

Current advances suggest the use of novel, smart robots for different tasks, such as monitoring, intervention and maintenance. 

In this workshop we will describe the opportunities and challenges of using marine robots in energy plants. We will discuss how new technologies, such as the resident-autonomy paradigm, advanced perception and machine learning can boost the use of such robotic systems in a plethora of new missions. 

We will also report the activity of the Marine Robotics TG. 

Intended outcome: Workshops engaging non-roboticists to understand needs/goals (policy, commercial, technical), Workshop on recent developments in technology or applications, Workshop discussion topics of common interest, success stories, use cases, etc 

Approach: Approach: 0:00-00:10 Introduction and report on TG activities by TG Coordinators 

00:10-00:20 – Y. Petillot – Heriot Watt University (UK), “Marine robotics for offshore renewable energy: towards remote inspection and maintenance”, 


In this talk, we will present our recent developments in inspection of offshore wind farms. We will focus on the technical and human challenges for the deployment of robotics solutions and their adoption by end-users and operators. Remote inspection requires embedded autonomy for two reasons; one, remote tele-operation is often not an option because of bandwidth limitation and second, we need to have embedded operational safety when the remote link becomes 

unstable or unavailable. The ability for a robotic system to build an accurate 3D model of the environment in real time and use this model for safe navigation, inspection and maintenance is therefore critical. We have developed an ‘autonomy in a box’ solution which integrates into any standard ROV and can build 3D models of the world and navigate these models autonomously whilst ensuring safety. This system is now integrated on an ROV that can be deployed from an autonomous surface vehicle, hence paving the way for fully remote, low carbon inspection and maintenance of offshore energy assets. We have also embarked on a new program for autonomous intervention which will be present briefly. 

00:20-00:30 – W. Caharija – Siemens Energy (Norway), “Offshore electrification and autonomy: challenges and opportunities for robotization” 


This talk will present (1) some of Siemens Energy’s key solutions for future unmanned and autonomous offshore energy installation, and (2) the challenges encountered when shifting towards an autonomy and IT dominated energy industry. 

00:30-00:40 – A. Martins – INESC (Portugal), “Marine robotics in the context of multi-source offshore energy parks – the EU-SCOREs case” 


In this presentation the opportunities and role of marine robotic systems in wind, solar and wave offshore energy parks is presented and discussed. This work is framed under the context of the EU-SCORES a large scale EU funded project aiming at the developing of large scale hybrid source energy offshore parks in Europe combining wind generation with floating solar and wave energy. 

Aerial autonomous robots and underwater robots and systems such as AUVs and robotic landers are considered for O&M (Operations and Maintenance) and environmental monitoring tasks. 

A discussion is presented on the role of robotic systems in future offshore energy production. 

00:40-00:75 – Round Table. 

Round table with speakers, subject matter experts and TG Coordinators. Discussion will focus on the challenges and opportunities of using marine robots in offshore and deep-water plants. The discussion will explore how 

new technologies, such as advanced perception, machine learning and new resident-autonomy paradigms can impact the market. Public will be invited to participate in the discussion. 

0:75-0:80 – Conclusion by the TG Coordinators 


Gabriele Ferri, CMRE, TG Coordinator 

Enrico Simetti, University of Genova , TG Coordinator (Italy) 

Yvan Petillot, Heriot-Watt University (UK) 

Walter Caharija, Siemens Energy (Norway) 

Alfredo Martins, INESC (Portugal) 

Further information: https://sparc-robotics-portal.eu/web/marine-robotics/wiki 


· Gabriele Ferri, gabriele.ferri@cmre.nato.int, CMRE

· Simetti Enrico, enrico.simetti@unige.it, University of Genova

Event Timeslots (1)

Room 207 – Floor 2
15 March - Specific operating environments
Gabriele Ferri