Modus Seabed Intervention has successfully completed trialling one of the subsea industry’s first commercially available hybrid unmanned underwater vehicles. It will be one of the first autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) to feature the capabilities and characteristics of a remotely operated vehicle (ROV).
In partnership with Saab Dynamics, Modus has developed the Saab Sabretooth to offer greater endurance and speed, and is also developing advanced sensor payload packages and operating methodologies. The vehicle is expected to contribute to more cost-effective survey and inspection projects in the offshore, defence and oceanographic sectors.
First commercial use
Following successful trials in Sweden and the UK, Modus is preparing the advanced spread for its first commercial deployment. The system will be used to fulfil pre-engineering, construction support and life-of-field condition monitoring requirements. The company is also working on a number of applications in the science and defence industries.
The vehicle can be operated fully autonomously or as a tethered ROV from one platform, offering maximum flexibility and cost savings. The hybrid AUV features a thruster pattern that enables it to hover with six degrees of freedom, providing the capability for both inspection and light intervention applications.
The Saab Sabretooth is equipped with increased thrust for high-speed surveying, as well as additional batteries for extended endurance. It is depth-rated to 1,200 metres, with an option to increase this to 3,000 metres to meet project-specific applications. Modus has also developed two deployment and recovery systems, a floating dock, and a subsea garage. In addition, the spread features a suite of sensors, HD video and stills cameras, and 3D imaging sonars.
The new vehicle is part of a significant development programme by Modus, to introduce advanced and disruptive technologies. The company is also developing a fully-managed service to support holistic data harvesting and management, in combination with advanced mission planning and execution.
Modus and Saab have entered into an agreement that focuses on research and development to generate a road map for hybrid AUV technology. “Our solution is a game-changing development for the subsea industry,” says Managing Director of Modus Seabed Intervention, Jake Tompkins.
“This innovation addresses the challenges facing this sector and the current economic environment,” Jake continues. “We are consistently driving innovation to enable our customers to maximise their operational efficiencies while meeting evolving industry requirements. “The hybrid AUV development – and our partnership with Saab – demonstrate our commitment to remaining at the forefront of the subsea sector through the application of advanced technology.”
Royal IHC has a 57% stake in Tompkins UK Limited, the parent company of Modus Seabed Intervention founded by the Tompkins family. IHC is also a partner in the TI Geosciences joint venture (that IHC and Tompkins created in 2015). The strong combination of IHC and Tompkins gives customers access to technologically advanced, high-quality, efficient and integrated solutions in seabed data acquisition, management and application through surveying, engineering and intervention.
Modus unveils next generation survey and inspection capabilities