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2023: The year that autonomy went out to play

At the end of 2022 we posted a blog titled The year that autonomy came to stay but as we approach the end of 2023, we’re please to look back at the year that we put autonomy out to play!

This was enabled by some great work from our R&D centre at the Ocean Technology Campus Rostock this year, which included everything from developing a safe and effective launching solution for our MARTAC Systems built Mantas T12 USV (Autonomous Surveyor) to developing new software for deeper integration between autonomous platforms and hydrographic payloads.

This focus on technology for simplifying marine data acquisition helped us to build a strong relationship with offshore wind farm owner Northland Power, which culminated in a world-first trial project to operate autonomous vehicles from a mothership, at the Deutsche Bucht Offshore Wind Farm in July.

The project was commissioned to verify performance and further develop the operational workflows of the Autonomous Surveyor USV for multibeam surveying and the unique BeeX A.IKANBILIS Hovering AUV (HAUV) for subsea inspections, such as scour and marine growth surveys, when deployed from a Service Operations Vessel (SOV) mothership already resident for Operations & Maintenance (O&M) at the wind farm.

One of the main drivers behind the project was to show how utilising assets that are already in place within the offshore wind farm O&M framework can improve the availability of marine data and significantly reduce the cost of acquiring it. The project certainly proved the efficiency gains and cost saving potential when deploying autonomous platforms from a mothership at an operational wind farm, and we are looking forward to taking the solution to the next level during 2024.

We also expanded our ambition to transform the future of marine survey and underwater inspection in 2023. Our mission is now to ‘Simplify marine data acquisition and analysis’. The latter was added as we shifted our focus to encompass the entire marine data value chain, from its acquisition at sea to its analysis and application using cloud solutions.

The objective is to optimise the flow of data from the seabed all the way to the cloud and beyond, with the goal to speed up workflows, significantly reduce costs, maximise the use of expert resources and reduce risk at sea by offering a more centralised framework for marine survey and underwater inspection operations. We are still working closely with our partner and their TrueOcean platform and looking forward to further developments in the coming year.

We also established several new industry partnerships during 2023. In May we started working with Rental technology Systems (RTS) to collaborate and expand our subsea technology rental pool, then in September we joined forces with WINDEA Offshore in a strategic sales partnership based on providing next generation marine data acquisition and analysis for offshore wind farm pre-construction and operations & maintenance.

A key milestone toward the end of 2023 was the delivery of our new R2Sonic Sonic 2026v multibeam. It’s one of the most advanced tools for collecting bathymetric data ever created and our early projects have shown just how powerful it is. The system was tested on the Autonomous Surveyor USV in December with some pretty incredible results in terms of acquisition speed and data quality. We will report more on the combination of state-of-the-art multibeam and USV during 2024.

While looking at the highlights of 2023, it’s important to mention that our team has been working hard with clients all year round to help them overcome their marine survey challenges. Whether it’s getting access to the products and complete solutions they need, providing on board technology and process expertise at sea, or providing marine survey-as-a-service with IHO spec data as the final deliverable, our continuously growing team always delivers results!

On that note, here’s wishing the Subsea Europe Services team, partners and all our clients the best for the holiday season! See you in 2024…


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