ROV's and AUV's are mature system integrations. There is potential to use these systems together as an AUV/ROV hybrid to reduce the cost of performing some missions. A specific example of this concept is an ROV delivered by an AUV to inspect subsea oil field trees and operate valves. The system would plug into a cable laid from the oil platform which provides power and a communication / video link. This eliminates the need for a ship.
Tethered marine vehicles, ROV's, and Autonomous Marine Vehicles, AUV's, are well known to the marine work and survey industries. In the last half-decade sporadic consideration has been given to the feasibility of oilfield mission specific hybrids to reduce cost. These concepts are proceeding down two paths; semi submersible ROV hybrid and AUV-ROV hybrid. This paper explores some of the issues related to the development of an AUV-ROV hybrid and reports on model tests. The ROV-AUV hybrid could be used for satellite field inspection and support. This ROV-AUV union would eliminate the need, hence cost for a ship to deploy the ROV. It would also be surface weather independent. The concept would use an AUV to deliver an ROV to a docking station where it can be plugged into power and full duplex communication link to a platform or semi submersible where the wells are being produced. The ROV can then be powered and maneuvered in real time from a production platform. While the AUV is plugged in, the AUV battery can be recharged.
January 1960: Walsh & Piccard to the bottom of the Challenger Deep.
StarI, DOWB, Beaver MKIV, Shelf Diver, Diverlockout SDL-1