Yokogawa Electric Corporation and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd (MHI) are teaming up to develop an autonomous inspection system that employs robots to identify and predict hazards in offshore oil and gas facilities.

To reduce the risk to humans performing inspections on offshore oil and gas platforms, Yokogawa and MHI are jointly building a communications infrastructure and robot system that is appropriate for offshore platforms and an artificial intelligence (AI) application for converting the image and sound data acquired by robots for use in offshore operations.

Source: MHISource: MHI

The companies are performing a proof-of-concept test using the second-generation iteration of the EX ROVR plant inspection robot that MHI previously introduced as ASCENT.

The EX ROVR robot is explosion proof, having previously earned the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and ATEX certifications — European explosion-proof standards that enable the EX ROVR’s safe use under Zone 1 combustible gas conditions.

According to its makers, The EX ROVR has been designed to enhance worker safety, boost work efficiency and improve facility operating rates by conducting 24/7 inspections under potentially explosive conditions.

Additionally, the robot features a 6-degrees of freedom explosion-proof manipulator with light-equipped camera for close-up and front-facing photography of plant instrumentation. Likewise, the system allows for the measurement of gas density, sound recording and acquisition of thermal images. Used in combination with its accompanying online application, the system can also enable operators to remotely set and manage inspection schedules and confirm inspection data. Meanwhile, incidents occurring at the plant can be quickly identified and resolved by the system.

The companies are developing the technology under the Nippon Foundation’s DeepStar Joint Research and Development Program for the promotion of decarbonization in offshore oil and natural gas applications.

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