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AI Meets HMI: Next-Gen Robots Take on the Tough Tasks To Reduce Risks on Rigs

Source: Getty Images.

Often located hundreds of miles away from land, offshore oil and gas platforms pose challenges with their unsheltered maritime environment, heavy weather, and risk of explosive, toxic, and corrosive atmospheres—with limited resources.

Sounds like conditions are ripe for robots on rigs.

In 14 years at Equinor, robotics researcher Anders Røyrøy has explored the application of robots in jobs that he describes as “dangerous, dirty, distant, or dull,” where use of a robot can serve to mitigate or eliminate safety risks for humans.

One of the highest priorities for robotic development and deployment, in view of their impact on inspection and maintenance routines, are remote operators for onshore and offshore platforms.

Failures in such harsh environments could jeopardize the lives of human operators, the environment, and process equipment. Semi- or unmanned operations can yield significant reductions in the risk of personnel exposure to dangerous chemicals. And in this age of social distancing, robots can be essential in providing contactless support.

Traditionally, bases of design have been focused on improving the safety of existing manned installations sites (brownfield)—those not designed with robots in mind—during potentially dangerous operations. Although it is possible to enhance safety, efficiency, and production availability on a brownfield site, French supermajor Total E&P is challenging that approach by developing remote or unmanned robotic solutions for specific functions on greenfield sites—that is, on automated, unmanned platforms designed to accommodate newly developed technology.

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AI Meets HMI: Next-Gen Robots Take on the Tough Tasks To Reduce Risks on Rigs

Lynnmarie P. Flowers, Technology Editor

01 July 2020

Volume: 72 | Issue: 7

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