VESSEL REVIEW | A.Ikanbilis – Singapore tech firm develops compact underwater inspection AUV

Photo: BeeX

Subsea Europe Services (SES), a subsea data acquisition company headquartered in Hamburg, recently took delivery of a new autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) that will perform underwater inspections in support of clients in the port operations, offshore energy, aquaculture, and marine construction industries.

Named after the Malay word for “anchovy,” the compact A.Ikanbilis was developed by Singapore-based unmanned systems manufacturer BeeX as an underwater inspection vehicle capable of rapid deployment and extended duration missions of up to seven hours thanks to two 500Wh batteries. As the AUV’s power supply system is self-contained, deployment into the water can be performed almost immediately, as the operator will no longer need to mobilise separate generators on vessels of opportunity.

An HD camera provides clear images even in murky waters with low visibility. Real-time image enhancement techniques clear up the camera feed to give operators improved visuals via laptop or any similar device, hence allowing for immediate reactions on-site.

Designed for untethered as well as tethered operation, the AUV is capable of autonomously following any structures that it identifies. Consistent high-quality data collection therefore becomes possible even when the craft is operating autonomously. An advanced AI-powered autonomy engine enables true “launch and leave” operation for diverse underwater inspection tasks, thus freeing up human operators to devote more time on analysis of the data rather than the collection.

Photo: BeeX

Fast CPU processing power meanwhile allows for instantaneous decisions while an advanced station keeping system ensures the AUV maintains a stable attitude even when operating in strong currents.

A.Ikanbilis conducted its operational trials at the Nordsee One offshore wind farm in the North Sea off the German coast. During the trials, the Nordsee One team tasked the AUV to inspect monopile foundations including Impressed Current Cathodic Protection (ICCP) anodes and Cable Protection Systems (CPS). On launch, the vehicle was able to complete its objectives without a human operator in the loop, autonomously choosing the safest, fastest, and most effective way to approach its mission parameters.

SES said the ability to make these decisions without operator input is possible due to the AI continuously learning from the suite of tightly integrated sensors, allowing intelligent adaptation to complex and changing environments such as tides, currents, and visibility.

SES added that the geo-referenced reporting of the monopile condition and 3D CPS inspection was provided to client Nordsee One in near real-time via an integrated cloud-based platform, significantly reducing the otherwise typical long waiting time for traditional reports.

A.Ikanbilis about to be deployed at the Nordsee One offshore wind farm in Germany (Photo: Subsea Europe Services)
Type of vessel: AUV – Inspection
Owner: Subsea Europe Services, Germany
Builder: BeeX, Singapore
Batteries: 2 x 500 Wh

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