I-AUV Docking and Panel Intervention at Sea

Authors Narcís Palomeras | Antonio Peñalver | Miquel Massot Campos | Pep Lluis Negre Carrasco | José Javier Fernández | Pere Ridao | Pedro J. Sanz | Gabriel Oliver Codina
In Sensors, Basel (Switzerland), MDPI, vol. 16, no. 1673, October, 2016.

The use of commercially available autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) has increased during the last years. While they are mainly used for routinely survey missions, there is a set of applications that nowadays can be only addressed by manned submersibles or work-class remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) equipped with teleoperated arms: the intervention applications. To allow these heavy vehicles controlled by human operators to perform intervention tasks, underwater structures like observatory facilities, subsea panels or oil-wells Christmas trees have been adapted making them more robust and easier to operate. The TRITON Spanish founded project proposes the use of a light-weight intervention AUV (I-AUV) to carry out intervention applications simplifying the adaptation of these underwater structures and drastically reducing  the operational cost. To prove this concept, the Girona 500 I-AUV is used to autonomously dock  into an adapted subsea panel and once docked perform an intervention composed of turning a  valve and plugging/unplugging a connector. The techniques used for the autonomous docking and  manipulation as well as the design of an adapted subsea panel with a funnel-based docking system  are presented in this article together with the results achieved in a water tank and at sea.




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