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Oceaneering acquires Exail’s DriX USV for remote survey scopes

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Oilfield Technology,

Oceaneering International has announced that its subsea robotics group is introducing a new uncrewed surface vessel (USV) service to support remote survey work scopes.

Exail and Oceaneering reached an agreement where Oceaneering will purchase its first DriX USV to support deepwater geophysical and asset inspection operations, including autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) positioning, and offshore and nearshore surveys. The use of the DriX USV on offshore survey and inspection work scopes will enable Oceaneering to improve operational efficiencies, reduce overall vessel time on site, and significantly reduce carbon emissions.

Oceaneering’s USV service offering will utilise dual independent positioning correction services from Oceaneering’s C-NAV® group for uninterrupted operations, thereby improving reliability. Oceaneering’s service will be equipped with dual redundancy for guaranteed continuity of service.

Eric Smith, Senior Director of Survey Services at Oceaneering, said: “It is the natural progression of our extensive experience with remote operations that we combine USVs with Oceaneering’s existing ROV and AUV fleets and onshore remote operations centres to deliver significant opportunities to scale operations and drive greater efficiencies. The service will directly support the market growth of IMRGE™, our integrated and customisable Inspection, Maintenance and Repair (IMR) strategy.”

Martin McDonald, Senior Vice President of Subsea Robotics, said: “We are excited to use the DriX USV as part of our integrated service offerings and to pair it with our AUV systems, such as the Freedom™ vehicle. The DriX allows us to remotely gather the same high-quality data at a lower operational impact, without the need for an offshore-based crew. This reduces health, safety, and environmental risks while freeing up multi-service vessels to complete other tasks.”

Olivier Cervantes, Vice President of Maritime Autonomy at Exail, said: “Oceaneering and Exail have a long-term partnership. It is a great pleasure to collaborate now on expanding subsea exploration thanks to automated systems such as DriX and Freedom. This collaboration opens new capabilities in the subsea construction, inspection, and survey domains.”

The DriX USV has accumulated several thousand hours in operation since entering service in 2016 and is able to conduct over-the-horizon supervised autonomous operations thanks to its A.I powered CortiX software and sensors.

The USV’s shape and stability allows for continued operations alongside Oceaneering’s AUVs in poor sea conditions found offshore (up to sea state 5), without compromising data quality.

The USV’s speed and endurance also reduces transit downtime and enables high speed nearshore survey to be conducted obtaining optimal data quality, harvested in a fraction of the usual times. It offers a lower environmental footprint at only 2 litres of fuel usage per hour, when compared with a crewed vessel, thereby reducing carbon emissions.

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