The ORCA Hub will connect background discovery science and low TRL research with integration/adaptation, demonstration and deployment using an iterative development and demonstration approach. We implement this as a spiral that weaves together refinement of use cases by industry with capability challenge demonstrations. Each influence and change the other, to converge over time on a capability for which there is a market need.
Over the 3.5 years of EPSRC support, the team’s underpinning scientific endeavours will be brought out into a series of demonstrations that contribute to at least one or more Capability Challenge. Teams of PDRA’s and related PhD students will be formed to execute these led by named Co-Is reporting to the PI and the Industrial Leadership and Opportunities Panel (ILOP) that will meet to review and advise on demonstration focus and progress.
This proven spiral approach to innovation commenced in July 2017 with a stakeholder workshop with oil companies, contractors, SMEs, public agencies and researchers.
Seven use case scenarios were identified as the drivers for the 2018 capability demonstrations, applying RAI to offshore energy asset integrity using marine, topside (i.e. on platform) and aerial systems:
- Subsea inspection - oil and gas
- Autonomous Boat (Surface vehicle) support for ROV/Survey vehicle
- Unmanned Autonomous Decommissioning
- Decommissioning abandoned wells and environmental monitoring
- Autonomous mobility and locomotion
- FPSO inspection and maintenance
- Online inspection for process equipment
The above scenarios will be continuously refined and augmented through an industry-led annual road-mapping activity and further stakeholder workshops. Thus, the requirements and technology will work in an iterative spiral over 3.5 years to converge on a series of industry relevant TRL 5 Demonstrations of part or all of one or more Capability Challenges from the research.
Although ORCA is working to reduce the need for personnel in hazardous environments, it is essential that onshore operators maintain situation awareness to monitor the mission and handle unforeseen circumstances.
MIRIAM (Multimodal Intelligent inteRaction for Autonomous systeMs) combines visual indicators of status with a conversational agent component and offers a fluid and natural way for operators to gain information on vehicle status, explanations of system behaviour and mission progress.