Marine-i has agreed to support marine engineering specialist, Feritech Global, in its plan to create the world’s first autonomous subsea vehicle specially designed for geotechnical survey work. Such a design would result in safer, more efficient and cost-effective seabed survey operations.
Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Marine-i is designed to help the marine tech sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly grow through harnessing the full potential of research and innovation.
Based in Falmouth, Feritech Global carries out geotechnical survey work for marine industry clients around the world, using specialist equipment designed and operated by its own team.
MD, Rob Ferris, explained: “Globally, offshore assets require an increasing number of detailed subsea surveys, which often have to be carried out in extremely challenging sea conditions. This is particularly true for the growing floating offshore wind sector, where installation has to take place in very deep waters.
“Using autonomous vessels to carry out geophysical survey work is an area that is already gaining traction. We now want to design an autonomous solution for geotechnical surveys. Such a vessel would need to be large in size to accommodate equipment for taking core samples of the seabed and for carrying out activities such as cone penetration testing and heat flow testing. Once developed, this new solution would have a global impact in reducing the risks and costs associated with seabed surveys.”
Feritech engaged with the Marine-i project to get expert help in researching and designing the new vehicle. Marine-i and Feritech are collaborating on a structured development programme to define the industry standards that the new vehicle must meet, specify the tool requirements, and create a design solution. This will result in the construction of a pre commercialisation prototype for sea trials.
Marine-i programme director, Prof Lars Johanning, said: “This is exactly the kind of innovative, disruptive technology that Marine-i was set up to support.
“Feritech’s concept could revolutionise the way in which geotechnical survey work is carried out. By helping reduce risk and costs for developers, it will help accelerate the growth of floating offshore wind in the Celtic Sea, generating a positive economic impact on the local supply chain. Globally, it would attract interest from clients in a wide range of offshore activities. It is another great example of how Cornish businesses are spearheading new, 21st century solutions in marine technology.”