Page 29: of Marine Technology Magazine (September 2019)

Autonomous Vehicle Operations

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Inspection, Repair & Maintenance (IMR) Moves


By Justin Manley nmanned maritime systems (UMS), es- These missions were traditionally the domain of work-class pecially autonomous underwater vehicles remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and the large offshore (AUVs), are no stranger to commercial ap- support vessels (OSVs) they depend upon. But times are plications. Survey of the sea? oor by AUVs changing.

and subsequently unmanned surface ve- Today there are a host of new robotic approaches to IMR, all

U hicles (USVs) is now an accepted practice. of them progressively disrupting the conventional techniques.

UMS technology is moving into new commercial domains, The spectrum ranges from novel ROV deployment concepts notably inspection maintenance and repair (IMR). While there to unmanned systems “resident” on the sea? oor, and include are no perfect de? nitions these tasks can be viewed as follows: novel robotic form factors and business models. While there • Inspection is the task of examining a structure, per- are exciting developments to discuss, they are predominately haps a pipeline, to determine its condition. focused on inspection and maintenance. Repair is currently • Maintenance is a routine task involving interaction still the domain of high power and heavily human-operated with a structure, such as turning a valve or inserting a lead. ROVs supported by OSVs. But the “I” and “M” sector is • Repair is typically a signi? cant intervention, such as roughly half the overall IMR market and seeing rapid evolu- replacing a broken pipe. tion.

Marine Technology Reporter 29

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