An underwater robot start-up backed by BP is one step closer to entering commercial operation after successful tests in the North Sea.
Blue Ocean Seismic Services (BOSS) is developing autonomous vehicles capable of conducting geological surveys on the ocean floor.
Their findings are traced back to a surface vessel and can be used to identify locations for untapped oil and gasfields, offshore wind farms, and chambers with the potential to store waste carbon dioxide underground.
The company reported today that the data returned from the North Sea tests can be compared in detail to that obtained with existing technology, but adds that such surveys using a swarm of drone-like submarines would allow such surveys to be faster, safer, and more efficient than conventional techniques. Clean and will be 50% cheaper.
Currently, marine seismic data acquisition relies heavily on technology developed more than 50 years ago, with streamer cables pulled over a boat.
Boss’s autonomous vehicles take off from the side of the boat and navigate the ocean floor and where they can stay for about three months, moving from one location to another underwater, recharged before returning to the surface. can go.
Farnborough-based Boss is now expanding testing to other locations in preparation for pre-commercial sea trials next year.
CEO Simon Illingworth said the successful sea trials were an “important milestone”.
He said: “We now know that our autonomous vehicles can withstand extremely challenging environments and continue to collect high quality data.
“We continue to have strong, broad industry interest in our technology and these results unlock the next phase of our growth.”
Woodside Energy, Australia’s largest oil and gas company, and BP Ventures – a green tech investor founded by FTSE 100 giant BP – were among the backers in its £10 million Series A funding round.