SWIMMER: Final sea demonstration of this innovative hybrid AUV/ROV system
A0007Thierry Copros CYBERNETIX S.A.
A0008Yves Chardard CYBERNETIX S.A.
With the increasing depth of offshore oil & gas fields (exploration: >
2500 msw;exploitation:record at 1850 msw), the cost of traditional ROV
operations for IMR tasks will represent a growing part of the total
field's operational expenditures and the maintenance of subsea
installations throughout the life of a field (typically 15 to 20 years)
will be one of the main technical challenges.
Cybernetix, a leading French subsea robotic manufacturer, developed,
in collaboration with Ifremer, the University of Liverpool and
TotalFinaElf, an innovative hybrid ROV / AUV concept, called Swimmer,
for deploying an ROV on a deepwater field without the need for long
and heavy umbilicals, special support vessels and their associated
A standard ROV is automatically carried by an AUV shuttle to a subsea
docking station installed close to equipments which require regular
IMR interventions (wellheads, manifolds,…). The docking station is
linked to the surface via a permanent umbilical which allows powering
and real-time control of the ROV when the AUV shuttle is connected to
the subsea station.
Swimmer is not only a drawing board concept: it has now been fully
integrated and tested in workshop and in shallow water. In June 2001,
the complete acoustic systems have been tested offshore and the
shuttle flew for the first time in AUV mode in open sea. In September
2001, the first fully automatic docking have been performed in shallow
water at Cybernetix'Marseilles harbour facilities.
Finally, complete offshore demonstration has been performed during
second half of October 2001.
The aim of this paper is to present the Swimmer concept and the
results of the final sea trials.
ROV:Remotely Operated Vehicle (tethered)
IMR:Inspection, Maintenance and Repair
AUV:Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (un-tethered)