Kawasaki AUV completes subsea pipeline inspection trials

Kawasaki Heavy Industries has successfully completed a series of verification tests for the close-range inspections of a subsea pipeline by an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) off the coast of Awaji Island, Hyogo Prefecture.

Kawasaki claims the AUV is the first of its kind in the world to be equipped with a robotic arm for perfoming subsea pipeline inspections.

During verification testing, the AUV executed a close-range inspection process which involved deployment at sea to locate and perform tracking operations on a subsea pipeline, after which it returned to its docking station for recovery.

The tests were part of a trial programme required to verify autonomous operation capabilities. These entailed inspections of a mock pipeline used to simulate a real subsea pipeline off the shore of Awaji Island.

The tests succeeded in verifying the performance of the AUV’s autonomous robot arm control and sensor-equipped close-range inspection unit to track the pipeline while the unmanned vehicle maintained stable travel.

Kawasaki said it will continue to carry out verification tests using equipment fitted with various inspection sensors in reflection of actual market needs, while simultaneously pursuing classification society certification for the AUV.

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