The Magazine for Underwater Professionals
1st June 2018
Forum Energy Technologies, USA, has delivered a remotely operated vehicle to the University of Limerick (UL), Ireland, to support its research into subsea inspection and intervention campaigns on renewable energy sector infrastructure.
Designed and manufactured in-house at Forum’s Kirkbymoorside, Yorkshire, UK, facility, the Comanche 2000-metre work-class vehicle was officially launched at the docks in Limerick City by Irish Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen TD.
“The Comanche ROV was selected due to its high thrust-to-drag ratio enabling it to operate in strong currents, typical conditions for the offshore renewables industry,” said Forum. “The ROV is equipped to a high specification with precision positioning and navigation systems, camera and lighting systems and sonars. The systems will be used as a test bed for research to develop capabilities for inspection, maintenance and repair work on marine renewable energy (MRE) infrastructure in the challenging strong wave and current conditions at MRE test sites and offshore MRE sites in Ireland and further afield.”
Researchers at UL’s Centre for Robotics and Intelligence Systems (CRIS) further enhanced the system with UL-developed advanced control software (OceanRings), precision navigation and flight control, state-of-the-art robotic imaging and sonar systems and fully automated manipulator systems.
The vehicle will be housed at Limerick Docks where experimentation, testing and demonstration will be carried out. It will also be mobilised on vessels at other ports in Ireland.
University of Limerick president, Dr Des Fitzgerald, said: “The advanced robotics technology developed at UL will be crucial in supporting the burgeoning marine renewable energy sector. It will also play a significant role in reducing the cost of installing and maintaining large-scale offshore energy generation infrastructure. As the worldwide marine renewable energy sector grows, UL’s research contribution in this area will have even greater impact.”