Marine Institute achieves remote operations milestones
Wednesday, July 26, 2023

The Marine Institute recently achieved a pair of key milestones in its collaboration with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) to use new marine technologies for remote operations and autonomous vehicles.

From the Remote Operations Centre (ROC) at The Launch in Holyrood, Marine Institute staff piloted underwater vehicles in the waters off Trondheim, Norway – more than 4,000 kilometres away.31K Success Remote Ops

It was the culmination of six months of planning and hard work on both sides of the North Atlantic.

Marine Institute first

Corey Roche, an instructor with the School of Ocean Technology, piloted a work-class remotely operated vehicle (ROV) on April 25 around NTNU’s newly installed instrument rig, an underwater platform equipped with cameras and sensors.

It was a remote operations first for the Marine Institute.

“I flew around subsea assets in Norway. It was a very smooth operation and I found the ROV’s response to my commands was almost instantaneous,” said Mr. Roche.

Futuristic underwater vehicle

The next demonstration completed on May 26 saw Bethany Randell, a project engineer with the Centre for Applied Ocean Technology, pilot a hybrid autonomous and remotely operated vehicle.

Known as Eelume, this vehicle is a self-propelled autonomous robotic with a slender, flexible body that can transit long distances and operate in confined spaces.

“It’s a very futuristic looking vehicle. As a hybrid it can run autonomously to follow a track or you can hook it up with a tether and fly it like an ROV,” said Ms. Randell.The Launch July 2023

Transforming ocean industries

Kelley Santos, director of The Launch, says advances in remote operations are transforming how ocean industries operate on many levels – from skills development to increased efficiency to greater sustainability.

“One of the most significant opportunities is building a much more diverse and inclusive workforce by creating entry points for people unable to work in the field, but can support offshore operations from remote operation centres like that at The Launch,” she said.

“Marine Institute’s collaborative partnerships with industry and academia at The Launch provide an ideal testing and demonstration environment for moving these practices from concept to operation. MI’s collaboration with NTNU is a prime example of the power of international collaboration and the exchange of knowledge, technology and resources to successfully demonstrate the remote operations of a variety of technologies in Norway from our remote operations centre.”

The institute is also working towards developing a maritime autonomous systems testbed (MAST) at The Launch and is in discussions with potential stakeholders about the research program.

Later this year the Marine Institute expects to acquire its first autonomous surface vessel, an eight-metre-long, self-righting vessel designed to operate non-stop for up to 14 days in a variety of sea conditions to collect ocean data.