August 31, 2023
SmartTouch technology for autonomous subsea pipeline inspection is currently being developed at the University of Houston. Image courtesy of UH
BSEE is funding the project with a $960,493 grant to UH researchers Zheng Chen, Bill D. Cook, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, and Gangbing Song, John and Rebecca Moores, professor of mechanical engineering, with Oceaneering International and Chevron.Image collaborate Courtesy UH
University of Houston researchers develop one Autonomous robot to identify potential pipeline leaks and structural failures during underwater inspections. The aim of the technology is to make the inspection process safer and more cost-effective.
From 1964 to 2015 in total 514 oil spills related to offshore pipelines were recorded. According to the authority, 20 of them had spills of more than 1,000 barrels Office of Ocean Energy Management.
The SmartTouch technology Currently in development at UH consists of ROVs Equipped with multiple stress wave-based smart touch sensors, video cameras and scanning sonars that can float along a subsea pipeline to inspect flange bolts – bolted connections have accelerated the rate of pipeline accidents that lead to leaks, it says Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).
BSEE is funding the project with a $960,493 grant to UH researchers Zheng Chen, Bill D. Cook, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and Gangbing Song, John and Rebecca Moores Professor of mechanical engineering, who work with Oceaneering International and Chevron.
“By automating the inspection process with this cutting-edge robotic technology, we can dramatically reduce the cost and risk of these important underwater inspections, which will result in safer operations of offshore oil and gas pipelines by requiring less intervention from human divers.” said Chen, noting that a prototype of the ROV was tested in his lab and in Galveston Bay. The experiments demonstrated the feasibility of the proposed approach for checking the looseness of underwater bolted connections. Preliminary studies were funded by UH’s Subsea Systems Institute.
The UH researchers are collaborating Ocean climbingAnd Chevron will evaluate the commercialization of the technology.