Industrial Electronics

Video: Boston Dynamics’ robot Spot goes to work on an oil rig

13 February 2020

A new pilot project is being undertaken by Aker BP, one of the largest oil companies in Europe, and Cognite, an artificial intelligence (AI) software-as-a-service (SaaS), to explore how robots can improve offshore operations.

Part of the project is using Boston Dynamics’ robot Spot, the quadruped robot that is famous for opening doors. The companies will test Spot’s mobility in simulated oil and gas environments to ensure that it can access locations in offshore facilities that are too difficult to access through traditional means.

Cognite and Aker BP are testing robotic systems to gauge their performance in autonomous inspection, data capture and automatic report generation. These tasks may include aerial and underwater inspections, responding to leaks, performing work that takes humans out of harm’s way and providing onshore operators with telepresence on offshore installations. The tests will use both robots and drones on the Aker BP operated Skarv installation in the Norwegian Seas in 2020.

The goal of the pilot project is to make offshore operations safer, more efficient and more sustainable, Aker BP said.

“Digitalization will be one of the differentiators between the oil companies of the world, in order to be able to deliver low cost and low emissions,” said Karl Johnny Hersvik, CEO of Aker BP, in a statement. “Our vision is to digitalize all our operations from cradle to grave in order to increase productivity, enhance quality and improve the safety of our employees. Exploring the potential of robotics offshore underpin our digital journey.”

Boston Dynamics’ Spot has been used in previous projects to demonstrate what the robots can do, including pulling a truck and pulling a 3.6 ton airplane.

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