Innovating the Future of Bio-Inspired Autonomous Robots for Offshore Renewable Energy Inspection

This project brings together broad expertise to address pressing challenges in biomimetic vehicle capabilities.

The purpose of this project is to build a prototype Biomimetic Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (BAUV) for autonomous inspection of floating wind turbines and other ORE infrastructure. Partners include the University of Strathclyde, PicSea Ltd, East Coast Oil and Gas Engineering Ltd (EC-OG), and the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult.

The prototype currently being developed uses traditional underwater robotics technologies with the key goals of demonstrating a biomimetic vehicle that can provide:

I. autonomous reliable operation in changing conditions at low cost using state of the art COTS embedded hardware and space robotics software technology
II. high agility and the ability to cope with changing sea conditions through high-fidelity CFD modelling and biomimetic control strategies derived from CFD simulation
III. efficiency of operation and indefinite loitering capability with compact power storage and underwater docking and recharging from EC-OG’s subsea power hub

Several key areas of related research that could revolutionize automated inspection with biomimetic vehicles are outside the scope of the RoboFish project due to their interdisciplinary nature.

This project assembles expertise from across the White Rose
universities to address these specific research challenges so as to build a solid basis for future proposals in the area of BAUVs:
1. The visual and acoustic payload for inspection and autonomous analysis of underwater ORE infrastructure
2. The capability of underwater acoustic communication for coordination of a swarm of autonomous vehicles
3. The forming of flexible structures that are streamlined for efficiency with integrated smart materials for biomimetic actuation in place of servo-motors
4. Long-distance and long-term autonomous fault tolerance without user intervention

Lead Academic at Lead University
Dr Mark A Post University of York

Lead Academics at other Universities
Dr Jongrae Kim University of Leeds
Dr Dan Gladwin University of Sheffield

Other Staff Associated with this project
Dr Paul Mitchel Department of Electronic Engineering, University of York
Professor Andy Tyrrell Department of Electronic Engineering, University of York
Dr Edgar Buchanan Berumen  Department of Electronic Engineering,
University of York
Dr Jordan Boyle Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of
Leeds
Professor Kirill V. Horoshekov Department of Mechanical Engineering
University of Sheffield
Dr Plato Kapranos Department of Material Science and Engineering,
University of Sheffield
Dr Chris Holland Department of Material Science and Engineering,
University of Sheffield
Dr Yicheng Yu Department of Mechanical Engineering University of Sheffield,
Dr Will Shepherd Department of Civil and Structural Engineering
University of Sheffield,
Professor Simon Tait Department of Civil and Structural Engineering
University of Sheffield

Other Partners
Mr Bodhi Sarkar East Coast Oil & Gas Engineering (EC-OG) Limited UK,
Dr Qing Xiao & Mr Marvin Wright Department of Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering, University of Strathclyde,
Mr Andrew Durrant PicSea Ltd UK
Mr Alex Louden ORE Catapult, UK




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