The Drilling Systems Automation Roadmap (DSA-R) initiative is a cross-industry effort launched in June 2013 to help accelerate the adoption of advancements in drilling systems automation for both onshore and offshore wells. When completed, this technology roadmap will provide the drilling industry with a well-defined guide on the expected development and adoption of drilling systems automation technology in the near and long terms. The focus on needs, vision, scope, and boundaries will enable development of solutions to implement Drilling Systems Automation (DSA) in a manner that effectively improves performance, reduces well costs, removes people from high-risk operations, and promotes general drilling safety, among other key goals. To enhance consensus, the DSA-R initiative decided to affiliate with the SPE, IADC and the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI).

This technology roadmap uses the well-known template developed by Sandia National Laboratories to provide a mechanism to forecast how DSA developments can progress, and to provide a framework to coordinate among disparate players. The process also will enable players outside of the oil and gas industry to envision how to participate and contribute to the implementation and advancement of DSA.

From the onset, the roadmap was segmented into eight key challenges, each individually defined in terms of functional description, performance targets, current status, problem statement, and development to meet the vision. The eight challenges are (1) Systems Architecture, (2) Communications, (3) Instrumentation and Measurement Systems, (4) Drilling Machines and Equipment, (5) Control Systems, (6) Simulation Systems and Modeling, (7) Human Systems Integration, and (8) Certification and Standards. Interdisciplinary challenge teams formed by subject-matter experts from both inside and outside the oil and gas industry are developing the maps for the challenges. The interdependencies and related interfaces among the challenges are being coordinated through the committee to ensure consistency of approach and timelines.

The purpose of this paper is to describe the launch of the DSA technology roadmap initiative, the processes being applied and key details on the status of each of the challenges. All roadmaps are invariably long-term projects, but the sharing of information at this critical stage is important to encourage wide industry involvement and participation to accelerate the implementation of automation in drilling.

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