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World’s first autonomous offshore robot tested in North Sea

A four-legged robotic platform, ANYmal, has autonomously performed various inspection tasks in a one-week pilot installation on an offshore converter platform in the North Sea, making it the world’s first autonomous offshore robot.

The robot maker, ANYbotics, is partnering with TenneT, a Dutch-German transmission system operator, to evaluate robotic inspection and maintenance on offshore converter platforms. TenneT connects large-scale offshore wind farms to the onshore grid over a high-voltage DC connection.

In periods of unmanned platform operation, a mobile robot helps to reduce the risk of disruptions and ensures the security of the electricity supply.

Based on its autonomous navigation capabilities, ANYmal performs routine inspection tasks to monitor machine operations, read out sensory equipment and detect thermal hotspots and oil or water leakages.

ANYmal can be remotely operated from an onshore control centre in order for TenneT to receive real-time information through the robot’s on-board visual and thermal cameras, microphones and gas detection sensors.

Before being deployed on the offshore mission, the ANYbotics field team underwent a rigorous safety training including helicopter escape and survival on sea scenarios.

After being taken on a guided tour of the platform to 3D-map the environment and learn the position and characteristics of all inspection points, ANYmal autonomously navigated the platform and processed inspection protocols.

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