The aim of this paper is to highlight the possible role, and the relevant cost saving, of AUVs (Autonomous Underwater Vehicles) when performing IMR (Inspection, Monitoring, and Repair) activities in deep waters, as an alternative to ROVs (Remotely Operated Vehicles). Firstly a set of inspection and light work activities, suitable to be carried out by an AUV, is identified. Afterwards an AUV conceptual design is presented, having a basic configuration and the potentiality to easily accommodate different tools, according to the specific mission. Finally an AUV-ROV cost comparison is made for three case studies, having as reference the IMR activities in a five years period. The results of this economical evaluation show that the cost saving when using an AUV can be as much as 70% with respect to a ROV.

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