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UAE innovation poised to revolutionize remote offshore inspections

A UAE company offering renewables and oil and gas operators the possibility to activate drones capable of both airborne and submersible remote activity across continents is poised to unlock a new chapter in the maritime inspection of offshore assets of several types.

Defuzzy Labs, a robotics company specializing in unmanned systems based in Sharjah, UAE, has collaborated with SubUAS, the US company behind the Naviator Air-Sea Drone platform, to demonstrate its latest robotics fleet management solution in a way that could revolutionize the future of offshore inspections.

A demonstration held at the AWS Energy Symposium in Houston last week (May 5) featured the Sharjah-based operator instructing a Naviator drone fleet to perform an inspection from over 11,000 kilometers away, alongside the SubUAS team based in New Jersey, in the US.

Related: Singapore launches maritime drone test bed facility

Defuzzy said it robotics fleet management solution used AWS's Roborunner service to command multiple Naviator drones over the cloud. “This scalable and modular solution enables Defuzzy to easily integrate robots of various makes, models, and forms into the fleet and control them. The cloud services will further help enhance remote monitoring solutions and complete accurate robotic inspections, improving the safety and efficiency of inspection operations,” it said.

In the demonstration, Defuzzy’s Sharjah-based engineers monitored and commanded multiple Naviator drones located in New Jersey. “The fleet management solution automatically planned a mission and assigned it to the available drone in the background, after which the Sharjah-based operator was seen monitoring the fleet's status and the live video stream of the inspection routine,” it said.

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Defuzzy has also designed and developed crewless solutions, such as unmanned surface vessels (USVs), underwater remotely operated vessels (ROVs), and unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs).

“We are pleased to announce that Defuzzy’s robotics fleet management solution will be used to command a fleet of offshore robotic platforms, which will not just be limited to drones, but a combination of USVs and other drones,” said Adnane ElSoussi, CEO & Co-founder, Defuzzy.

“Our robotic fleet management solution eliminates many challenges associated with inspections of offshore facilities, such as adverse weather and harsh operational conditions, limited and poor communication, availability of multi-talented inspectors, difficulty to access spaces requiring special tooling and equipment, the high-risk operational environment, and lastly, high operational costs.”

ElSoussi told Seatrade Maritime News that drones could, as well as operating in the air, function at depths of 100 feet and more. “That opens a lot of opportunity for inspection and security operations,” he said.

For ElSoussi, the goal is to deploy the technology at scale. “Imagine you have multiple turbines in a wind farm. Their sensors give us some idea of the health of each turbine. We then link that to the cloud. Now, using models that we can develop, we can do predictive maintenance, and, at the same time, improve our inspection routines.”

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