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The Atlantic Testing Platform for Maritime Robotics: New Frontiers for Inspection and Maintenance of Offshore Energy Infrastructures.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ATLANTIS (The Atlantic Testing Platform for Maritime Robotics: New Frontiers for Inspection and Maintenance of Offshore Energy Infrastructures.)

Período documentado: 2020-01-01 hasta 2021-06-30

Operations and maintenance (O&M) has to be performed for the full operational life of a wind farm, the costs of which constitute to a significant part of the total costs of offshore wind power. The EU and the wind power sector have ambitious aims for cost-reduction to make wind power – especially offshore wind power – more cost-efficient. With the current technology base O&M costs can account for up to 30 % of the total cost of energy for offshore wind power. A substantial contribution to cost reduction must therefore come through improved and new solutions and technologies. ATLANTIS will address the EU and wind power sector’s ambition.
The overall aim of the ATLANTIS project is to establish a pioneer pilot infrastructure capable of demonstrating key enabling robotic technologies for inspection and maintenance of offshore wind farms that will be installed in the Atlantic Ocean. A large-scale pilot will be operated and demonstrated by a strong collaboration between the research community and the industrial offshore energy ecosystem. The commitment of relevant stakeholders from the maritime robotics and wind power value chain depicted in ATLANTIS project exposes the urgency in guarantee an early access by medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), R&D institutions or energy operators to a pilot infrastructure for validating innovative and technological solutions with high potential to leverage key market sectors and the blue growth.
ATLANTIS plays an important role in connecting the market needs and user’s expectation to robotic applications from the research, technology developers and system integrators, by accelerating the roll-out of maritime robotic technology to end-users through real-world demonstrations open to all communities. The emphasis of ATLANTIS is on demonstrating capabilities in a real offshore wind farm. Dissemination activities enrolled in the ATLANTIS project aim to convince stakeholders about the advantages of using robotic-based solutions.
The ATLANTIS project addressed challenges related to offshore wind IMR activities by looking holistically to solutions and high-value services that can be delivered from robotics-based technology in highly realistic operating environments. The ATLANTIS project has formulated multiple possible inspection, maintenance and repair (IMR) scenarios, that can be applied to an offshore wind farm, focused on, but not limited to, the WindFloat Atlantic (WFA). This formulation is an important step to understand how the current solutions can be improved by new ideas based on robotisation and automatisation of IMR operations.

The ATLANTIS project revealed a potential increase of 35% of uptime during offshore operations. This is a significant increase of potential workability when robotics would be deployed for IMR at offshore windfarms. By implementing robotics solutions instead of physical attendance of an engineer, a vessel can work in higher wave conditions since the critical operation of personnel transfer between the vessel and windmill is no longer be required. The typical wave length and weather limitations of the ATLANTIS Offshore Testbed was the use-case considered for this analysis.

Additionally, the project also revealed new insights related to:
1) An innovative hybrid imaging system was designed and validated in controlled scenarios at 100m depth rate. This prototype aims to provide dense 3D point clouds and rich texture information from harsh underwater environments to improve the ability of underwater vehicles (ROVs and AUVs) to perceive the subsea environment and to support several robotic tasks (technology at TRL4).
2) A coverage path planning algorithm for close range inspection of floating underwater platforms conducted by AUVs. A 3D map of occupied cells obtained by multibeam sonar device makes it possible to estimate collision-free paths for the AUV while performing visual inspections (technology at TRL4).
3) A preliminary version of an algorithm for enabling autonomous cathodic measurements using a robotic arm from AUV to touch the surface with a cathodic probe (technology at TRL4).
4) An ASV vehicle for multi-domain perception was modified by augmenting the endurance, communications and perception capabilities (technology at TRL5).
5) Preliminary validations and demonstrations of robotic technology (the ASV for scour protection scenario) in relevant scenarios of Leixões and Viana do Castelo harbors (Portugal).
6) The mock-up structure to be installed on the ATLANTIS Coastal Testbed was designed.

The test and validation of robotic solutions will be performed according to defined showcases, both in near-real and real environment. All scenarios are characterizing the technical challenges for OWFs. Given the high diversity of functionalities offered by the set of marine and aerial robots, the project has first identified the system requirements in terms of functional, performance, interface, deployment/operational, and, safety.
The outcome of ATLANTIS will be the creation of a new Test Center for the demonstration of robotic technology beyond feasibility and cost efficiency in a real offshore wind farm. The core goal of the ATLANTIS is the testing of robotic capabilities in real application scenarios contextualized by the offshore renewables industry, which can include the testing and validation of new architectures and technologies. ATLANTIS aims to breakdown legal/regulatory and certification barriers. The Coastal and Offshore Testbeds will capture one of the most challenging weather and environment conditions in the world in terms of wind, weather, visibility, waves, tides and marine growth from the Atlantic Ocean. This innovative demonstration methodology of increasing complexity will ensure the safety for personnels in charge of executing the showcases where they must to perform properly in order to add value to the entire I&M industry.
A commercial offshore wind farm - the WindFloat Atlantic - will serve as showcase for technology validations during activities within the Offshore Testbed. Additionally, as ATLANTIS provides piloting and demonstration environment to new solutions in a cost-efficient manner (~13k€/day in a tentative expectation) since that the maritime experimentations is costly in today’s market (~60k€/day). At the site, robotic-based solutions that have reached readiness for demonstrating will be given the opportunity of testing and collecting performance data in a real world environment enabling achievement of higher TRL.
Therefore, ATLANTIS will have a pivotal role in promoting robotic technology since it brings together the academic and maritime industry; and, the active dissemination of the full-scale demonstrations to stakeholders that will promote the energy transition from fossil based energy sectors to Renewable based ones through knowledge sharing and R&D activities. ATLANTIS is supporting the marine businesses to “re-adapt/reconvert” many of its offshore engineering/O&M competences from oil and gas (O&G) sectors to offshore renewable energy sources (RES) sector.
ATLANTIS will create a programme to European SME and start-up companies (up to 6) by granting a free access to a suite of robotic solutions and solutions. This has the potential of allowing partners to improve products and services for the mass market, as well as face new markets especially, but not only, the offshore renewable energies.