Pilot Project Succeeds with AUVs, USVs for Offshore Wind


Teams from wind farm owner Northland Power and Subsea Europe Services have successfully concluded a pilot project to apply state-of-the-art uncrewed surface vessels (USV) and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV) to marine survey and underwater inspection operations at the Deutsche Bucht Offshore Wind Farm, located in the German North Sea.

The project is intended to verify performance and further develop the operational workflows of Subsea Europe Services’ Autonomous Surveyor USV for multi-beam surveying and A.IKANBILIS Hovering AUV (HAUV) for subsea inspections, such as scour and marine growth surveys, when deployed from a service operations vessel (SOV) mother ship already resident for O&M at the wind farm.

The so-called “mother ship concept” was proven successful throughout the pilot. With seamless integration of the various teams and equipment working aboard the Albert Betz SOV, the result was a wider weather window for marine survey and underwater inspection operations, with launch and recovery up to Sea State 3 and data acquisition according to the specified requirements. 

“Our goal is to utilize assets that are already in place within the offshore wind farm O&M framework in order to improve the availability of marine data and significantly reduce the cost of acquiring it,” says Soren Themann, CEO, Subsea Europe Services GmbH. “Both Autonomous Surveyor and A.IKANBILIS performed well, acquiring actionable data within similar time frames as conventional vehicles including crewed survey vessels and work class ROVs, both of which are more costly to manage and operate.”

Full commercial readiness of a combined turnkey USV/HAUV solution for major projects and permanent mother ship deployment is expected by the first quarter of 2024.

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