Saipem-Sonsub’s Hydrone-R underwater intervention drone was recently launched in water to start testing prior to its planned commercialisation by the end of the year.

The company hope that the drones will change the way underwater inspections and interventions take place.

The Hydrone program encompasses three vehicles: Hydrone-R, Hydrone-S and Hydrone-W.

Hydrone-R, the first unit to be launched in the market, is an underwater intervention drone. It is capable of performing light construction works as well as advanced inspections on subsea assets thanks to a series of sensors embedded onboard. It also has Artificial Intelligence features for unmanned navigation and autonomous anomaly detection on a wide range of subsea systems.

The vehicle can remain underwater for 12 months, making it the first ever resident subsea drone. In this resident mode, Hydrone-R features wireless operability and can be connected to subsea infrastructures via through-water communication links.

It can cover an area within a 1km radius for inspections and interventions. An even larger distance can be covered via intermediate subsea docking stations for recharging, mission download or data upload, thus offering an unlimited range of operations.

“The core technologies embedded on board Hydrone-R are at the forefront of the industry. Safety and operational efficiency will both dramatically benefit from Hydrone-R and the entire Hydrone Program in the years to come,” said Stefano Porcari, COO, Saipem E&C Offshore Division.

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