Remotely operated Vehicles (ROVs) are widely used in deep water to perform various types of activities in the Oil and Gas sector and beyond. However, for extreme shallow waters, that is less than 10 meters in depth, the ROV market is severely underserved. In addition, ROV operations in shallow waters are more challenging than deeper waters due to the difficulty in accessing shallow sites with large vessels that can support divers and ROVs in their operations. Robotics Engineers from Aramco have developed a unique underwater robot specifically designed to operate in shallow waters area and perform pipe inspection testing. It is equipped with a 6-DOF electric robotic arm that deploys Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) probes onto bare-metal pipes. The robotic arm carries an ultrasonic testing probe to measure pipe metal loss, Cathodic protection probe to measure pipe protection level, as well as a camera. A cavitation water jet nozzle is attached onboard to help in cleaning bio-fouling and marine growth such that NDT systems can be deployed efficiently. In addition, hybrid maneuverability of swimming and crawling on seabed was particularly beneficial for extreme shallow areas. Finally, an Automatic Service Vehicle (ASV), tethered to the ROV, was designed and developed to autonomously track the ROV as well as relay communication between command control and the ROV.
Hassane Trigui is a Senior Research Engineer at Aramco's Research & Development Center. He worked on the development of multiple cutting-edge robotics technologies that aim to support field operations including a magnetic crawler (SAIR) and an underwater ROV (SWIM-R). Currently, Hassane is leading multiple initiatives and projects promoting digital transformation and applications of IR4.0 in the energy sector. He received multiple awards including two Aramco CEO Excellence Awards and the IFIA Industrial Glory Medal. He has 20+ granted patents and 5+ other filed patents. Hassane Completed his B.Sc. in Control Systems from KFUPM in 2010 and his M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from KAUST in 2011. His research focus areas include robotics, embedded design, and AI applications.