World’s First Resident Subsea Drone Contract Awarded

Modus was awarded the contract by Equinor Energy for the autonomous deployment of a Saab Sabertooth underwater robot By Phoebe Grinter / 04 Nov 2022
Modus has a fleet of Sabertooth hovering autonomous underwater vehicles (HAUVs)

Modus has been awarded a resident subsea contract by Equinor Energy for the autonomous deployment of a Saab Sabertooth underwater robot.

The Saab Sabertooth will remain at a subsea docking station for charging and data transfer between missions at the Johan Sverdrup oil field, Norway. Over-the-horizon mission management will come from Modus’ Command and Control Center at its UK head office.

According to the industry, residency of robotic systems will reduce operational expenditure, remove humans from offshore work, and reduce environmental impact.

Sabertooth on a Modus docking platform
Sabertooth on a Modus docking platform

Modus chose Sabertooth as the world’s only roaming and hovering multi-role, 360° maneuvrable system that enables fully flexible dual autonomous and intervention operations from a single platform, fitted with cameras, sonars and tooling.

Behind the Sabertooth’s success is 10 years’ development by Saab Seaeye engineers in Sweden and the UK, where advanced military and commercial technologies were integrated to create the Sabertooth concept and its multirole capability. 

According to Saab, a key challenge was achieving millimeter precision tasking from a remote location while underwater. This was achieved by circumventing latency with Saab’s iCON™ intelligent control system.

Winner of the Underwater Technology Foundation’s Subsea Award for outstanding achievements within the subsea industry, the 3000m rated Sabertooth was seen by UTF as achieving a world first after proving the potential for marine autonomous systems to take a greater role in underwater inspection, repair and maintenance methodologies.

For Modus, the breakthrough development of achieving residency positions it at the forefront of subsea innovation and its vision to offer fully autonomous carbon-zero solutions.

The company sees the project demonstrating the major benefits of resident underwater intervention drones and is excited to work with Equinor to provide a sustainable route to vastly improved operational regularity, consistent ultra-high-quality data, significantly reduced operational expenditure spend and increased safety.

Modus believes that with Equinor leading the way on technology solutions as part of its commitment to a low-carbon future, the contract has the potential to drive a paradigm shift in the industry.

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Posted by Phoebe Grinter Unmanned Systems Technology’s digital editor and copywriter Phoebe takes a fresh and enthusiastic approach to researching, writing and posting the latest unmanned technology updates, and in managing the UST social channels. Connect & Contact