Boxfish Research and Transmark Subsea started in October 2020 with the development to deliver an innovative new technology for offshore infrastructure and asset inspection: a fully autonomous resident vehicle, ARV-i.
ARV-i is an entirely new class of underwater observation vehicle, combining cutting-edge technologies from both Boxfish Research (underwater vehicles, photography and robotics) and Transmark Subsea (underwater power and communications infrastructure and systems). Applications abound in offshore industries that require underwater observation and inspection, including energy, oil and gas, wind farms, ports, canals and aquaculture.
As a resident vehicle, ARV-i will spend its time entirely underwater, up to 12 months per deployment. Its docking station facilitates underwater battery-charging and wireless communication of data collected during the vehicle’s dive excursions. At the 12-month service Interval, the vehicle is exchanged with a replacement and the original refurbished.
In resident mode, ARV-i can be fully autonomous with its self-piloting systems taking advantage of the existing Boxfish ROV platform, such as the advanced stability and maneuverability of its eight-thruster design. Additional proprietary artificial intelligence onboard enables the ARV-i to optimize movements within its environment. Bristling with an array of up to 6 machine vision cameras and one 4K navigation camera, the vehicle can deliver 17,000 lumens of lighting to deliver unparalleled observation quality in the underwater environment. A low-profile, lightweight vehicle weighing in at only 25kg facilitates flexible deployment and entry to confined spaces while maximizing power-to-weight ratio enabling extended excursion time and range.
For onshore staff who want direct control, ARV-i offers the option for manual piloting using live video or via a digital twin of the environment. Manual control is enabled by high-speed optical and acoustic communications returned from the vehicle.
Taking the example of fish-farming, the capability of ARV-i will demonstrate its ability to observe and monitor the whole environment inside the cage. On a typical mission in autonomous mode, ARV-i will leave its dock fully-charged and use its onboard processors to detect fish and nets in real-time, allowing it to closely observe the fish while avoiding the nets and other obstacles normally present. During the dive, ARV-i will use its battery of cameras to collect data on the health of the assets including fish biomass, net integrity and water quality. ARV-i will return to its dock for charging via pinless connection , simultaneously sending data to the cloud. Undocking, docking and mission execution is performed without human intervention; ARV-i uses sonar and computer vision for the purposes of asset mapping, following, and obstacle avoidance. Under manual operation, detected objects will appear in the pilot’s display of the digital twin, allowing pilots to follow, inspect or avoid them as necessary.
With high-resolution sensors and communications technology that is the leader in its class, processed by state-of-the-art artificial intelligence, the ARV-i contains a multitude of cutting-edge technology in a highly-maneuverable vehicle.
The ARV-i is also available as a tethered solution, in conjunction with a subsea Tether Management Systems. Up to 8K 50MP are be supported in ARV-i tethered solution
The ARV-i prototype successfully completed trials in May 2021. With extensive sea trials underway, its official market release is scheduled for October 2021.
Advanced features include:
• Permanent subsea residency with remote, shore-based control
• Tetherless manual and autonomous operation
• Asset and infrastructure following and avoidance
• Autonomous docking
• Reliability through redundant systems
• Hot-swappable payload.