Norwegian energy company Equinor has signed a contract with marine robotics company Ocean Infinity to use autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) for a site investigation survey at its floating offshore wind lease area in Morro Bay, California. The project, which won a 2GW lease in December, is the first commercial-scale floating offshore wind development on the US West Coast. AUVs are underwater robots that operate independently and can reach depths that human divers cannot. Equipped with sonar, depth sensors, and cameras, these modular robots will provide Equinor with crucial data to refine the wind farm’s design and inform the site assessment and construction plans.
The data collected by Ocean Infinity’s AUVs will help Equinor develop and optimize the energy production capabilities of the Morro Bay project, which has the potential to power around 750,000 households in the US. The use of AUVs will improve data quality compared to traditional towed arrays and increase efficiency across wide areas. The robots will be deployed in February 2024 at water depths ranging from 974 to 1317 meters.
This collaboration demonstrates the growing importance of autonomous technology in the renewable energy industry. By utilizing AUVs, Equinor and Ocean Infinity can efficiently survey and collect data from challenging underwater environments, enabling them to make informed decisions about the wind farm’s development. The use of autonomous robots in this context highlights the significant advancements in marine robotics and their potential to revolutionize offshore energy projects.
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