DexROV solution for remote underwater inspection and maintenance

Ref-Nr: TD2018-21

Technology abstract

Intuitive solution to perform remote underwater interventions

  • On the shore side: An advanced dexterous exoskeleton with gravity compensation controlling ROV using an intuitive interface
  • On the offshore side: Any ROV (applications: oil and gas, renewable energy, biology, geology, archaeology)
  • In between: a satellite link connection managing latencies through autonomous set of instructions

Technology Description

DexROV offers a skid extension that can be interfaced with most existing ROV platforms (with limited custom interfacing), which features dexterous manipulation capabilities as well as advanced perception and modeling capabilities.
The DexROV solution also makes provision for far distance. Remote control is handled via satellite communication. This requires limited adaptations of the support vessel, the main one being the deployment of a 80cm satellite dish.
The DexROV solution includes mainly:

  • The DexROV skid, includind one or two dexterous manipulators with force feedback (depending on configuration);
  • Perception system;
  • Complementary underwater sensors.;
  • Skid computing unit, with perception processing software;
  • Vessel computing unit, with control software, satellite communication software, proxy cognitive engine software;
  • Satellite based communication link hardware components (dish, modem, power supply, etc.);
  • Control room with DexROV remote control interfaces: GUI, software infrastructure, hardware infrastructure (displays...), main cognitive engine software;
  • Force feedback exoskeleton interfaces (as described in the technology "Exoskeletontouchy-feely robotics solutions")

Expertise has been built up through multiple projects for ESA and EC RTD projects between 2007 and 2018.
 

Innovations & Advantages

DexROV permits a higher level of dexterity compared to conventional / existing solutions thanks to force feedback enabled end-effectors. DexROV provides the  possibility to perform interventions from a far distance, remotely  located control centers through a satellite link connection. It enables near human diver like dexterity. It enables to access depths that human divers cannot reach, more safely and at a cheaper intervention cost compared to conventional ROV based operations.

Further Information

SpaceApps’ offer will build on the DexROV prototype (www.dexrov.eu) that was presented in London at Oceanology International in March 2018
SpaceApps has successfully demonstrated the remote control via satellite communication of a robotic vehicle (ROV) equipped with dexterous manipulators. Initial sea trials were performed in 2017 (http://www.euronews.com/2017/08/07/how-will-the-new-intelligent-breed-of-rovs-benefit-us)
 

Current and Potential Domains of Application

Renewable energies are a growing market also requiring the inspection and maintenance of offshore facilities. The oldest and obsolete offshore Oil and Gas facilities (e.g. in North sea) require dismantling and disposal of elements, which will be a growing market. These are important considerations in terms of market trends.
Other potential markets includes science (biology, geology) and archaeology.