Japan’s Kawasaki automotive conglomerate to test world’s first subsea pipeline inspection drone in Scotland

Kawasaki Kenji Tomida (left) Kawasaki vice-president, Fiona Hyslop, Scottish Foreign Affairs Minister, and Steve Ham, from The Underwater Centre sign the subsea drone test deal
Kenji Tomida (left) Kawasaki vice-president, Fiona Hyslop, Scottish Foreign Affairs Minister, and Steve Ham, from The Underwater Centre sign the subsea drone test deal

A major Japanese industrial corporation has signed an agreement that will see the world’s first test of an autonomous underwater vehicle carried out in Scotland.

The test, scheduled for October at The Underwater Centre in Fort William, will be the first of its kind in the world, according to Kawasaki, which is developing underwater drones for pipeline maintenance in offshore oil and gas fields.

Kawasaki Heavy Industries will carry out a verification test of a prototype subsea drone equipped with a robot arm for subsea pipeline inspection.

As a purpose-built subsea training and trials facility, The Underwater Centre’s pier complex includes four dive stations, classrooms, workshops and decompression chambers plus mechanical and electrical workshops, a 1.5 million litre indoor tank and classrooms as part of the ROV training suite.

 In November 2017, Kawasaki successfully completed a 15-day verification test at The Underwater Centre for the automated underwater docking of a prototype AUV to its charging station, involving contactless charging and large-capacity optical communication.

.. here's one she made earlier... a clearly delighted Fiona Hyslop, Scotland's Foreign Affairs Minister, helps display a model of the subsea inspection drone
.. here’s one she made earlier… a clearly delighted Fiona Hyslop, Scotland’s Foreign Affairs Minister, helps display a model of the subsea inspection drone

In Tokyo, Scotland’s Foreign Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop witnessed the signing of the agreement by Steve Ham, commercial director at The Underwater Centre from Fort William, and Kawasaki leaders.

Hyslop said: “I am delighted that Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd, one of Japan’s major companies, has decided to develop this innovative technology in Scotland. It is fantastic news for The Underwater Centre in Fort William.

“Kawasaki also has excellent links with Edinburgh Centre for Robotics at Heriot-Watt University, which is developing the control software and multi sensor algorithms for the drone to enable it to track pipes underwater.”

A computerised image of the subsea drone with robotic pipeline inspection arm extended.
A computerised image of the subsea drone with robotic pipeline inspection arm extended.

6 Jul 2018

Pixie Energy

Pixie logo Pixie Energy is an incubator and a facilitator of strategic research and project work, focusing on energy regulation, policy and markets at the local and national level. Find out more about Pixie Energy here.

Local Energy Matters: Scotland

Local Energy Matters: Scotland is a free-to-download brochure with a focus on energy tariffs in the two Scottish electricity distribution regions, as well news on local energy and low-carbon schemes.

Previous editions can be download here.

Scottish energy market overview

You can read an overview of the Scottish energy market here.

Scottish Government energy feed