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TechnipFMC signs up for RTI connectivity

Technological advances are promoting autonomy within the oil and gas market

The semi-autonomous underwater ROVs being put to use on oil and gas projects
The semi-autonomous underwater ROVs being put to use on oil and gas projects

The Schilling Robotics business unit of TechnipFMC, an oilfield services company, has selected Real-Time Innovations (RTI) as the connectivity framework for its underwater remotely operated vehicles (ROVs).


TechnipFMC is using RTI’s technology to build next-generation remote robotics controls, an integration that is enabling “faster and more secure connectivity” within TechnipFMC’s underwater ROVs.


TechnipFMC is a longstanding RTI customer and has been working with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) connectivity company for nearly two decades.


TechnipFMC’s ROVs are used in complex subsea and offshore projects. They can operate at depths of 3,000 metres or more below sea-level, and are deployed to assist with servicing subsea infrastructure, managing assets and performing crucial maintenance and construction tasks at the seafloor.


Due to the complexity and agility needed to work offshore and with remote underwater robots, these projects require highly skilled and trained operators. According to RTI, operators trained for these specific tasks can be in short supply, so customers look to automated technical solutions to help bridge this labour gap.


Historically, this type of equipment has been teleoperated, but with TechnipFMC’s integration of Connext DDS it is helping to promote a shift from manual to automated functions. These technological advances are promoting autonomy within the oil and gas market and helping boost efficiency, lower costs and accelerate schedules for enterprises within the industry.


“When you are operating on critical infrastructure that is thousands of metres below the ocean’s surface, performance and reliability are crucial because the smallest mistake could lead to a multi-billion-dollar disaster,” said Bijou Abraham, chief software engineer at TechnipFMC.


“To address the critical nature of this application, our customers rely on our technology to monitor and prevent these types of disasters, and we rely on RTI to support us with the real-time connectivity required. We are confident that as we continue to develop our technology and expand our offerings, RTI Connext DDS will remain a solution that we can trust.”


TechnipFMC leverages RTI’s software in the core software stack of its robotic systems, relying on Connext DDS to transport sensor and control data within the ROV control system network. With Connext DDS, the TechnipFMC team can implement new features without having to re-architect the data transport infrastructure and can seamlessly and rapidly add and remove features to meet evolving market demands and customisation requests.


“For the past two decades, Connext DDS has provided TechnipFMC with a reliable and customisable connectivity solution that has enabled the successful development of semi-autonomous robotic systems, resulting in improved efficiency among their customer base,” added David Barnett, vice president of products and markets at RTI.


“We look forward to continuing our work together to further advance these complex underwater systems and increase IoT advancement within the oil and gas industry.”


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