The Freedom ROV provides a new level of flexibility and efficiency by combining the features of a ROV and an AUV into one vehicle. Typical tasks include pipeline survey, seabed survey, close visual inspection and light intervention activities.
Software for Autonomous Vehicles
Oceaneering is developing a next-generation supervisory control software for all types of autonomous vehicles.
Freedom’s control software features recognition of pipeline features including free-spans, depleted anodes, mattress crossings, and anomalies which can trigger sub-missions for further inspection, thus avoiding the requirement for subsequent inspection operations post initial survey.
Freedom is supported by a docking station at the seabed. The vehicle has hybrid functionality that enables it to operate in two modes: remotely piloted, via tether or through-water communications, to provide real-time control, or autonomous mode, which relies on advanced autonomy to complete mission scopes.
Testing and Verification at the Living Lab
Oceaneering established a “Living Lab” near Tau, Norway, that is devoted to the development, testing, and verification of the new control software and our next-generation vehicles.
From Tau, a vehicle can be launched and controlled from the quayside and navigate to a shore-side obstacle course that includes a subsea docking station, various pipelines, and infrastructure designed to replicate an offshore environment. This setup is used to test that our software works as intended and is qualified for reliability during the course of the development program.
In September 2020, Oceaneering successfully docked the Freedom vehicle with Equinor and Blue Logic's Underwater Intervention Drone (UID) Docking Station at our Tau test facility. The vehicle launched from the quayside and landed while in autonomous mode using a tether only for Wi-FI feedback. Watch our video below to learn more about the operation.
Developed and Qualified
Freedom offers low altitude pipeline inspection for pipeline surveys. The vehicle has the ability to track pipelines only 1m off the seabed to provide higher resolution data. Freedom’s software package offers a heightened level of obstacle detection, autonomous avoidance, and situational awareness. To avoid obstacles, Freedom can replan its route and re-engage with the tracked pipeline.
Freedom project begins
Commencement of Living Lab software qualifications
Freedom vehicle in the Living Lab
Freedom in Living Lab untethered with batteries
Freedom undergoing software reliability qualification
Successful third-party docking station operation
Check out our webinar series on the development of our Freedom™ autonomous vehicle.