ABB Targets Optimal Vessel Missions with OCTOPUS Software

ABB Marine & Ports has been selected as a key technology partner for the EU-funded ATLANTIS project exploring the use of remote offshore inspection and maintenance techniques for wind farms.

ABB is supplying a new module of the ABB Ability™ Marine Advisory System – OCTOPUS optimization software – for the project funded through Horizon 2020.

The software has been enhanced to allow onshore operators to plan a vessel mission from port to wind farm in the most optimal way, backed by data-driven decisions, ABB said.

This will enable improved efficiencies by cutting the transfer times between land and wind farms, as well as by reducing the vessel waiting time and working time on-site.

“ATLANTIS is a unique project that promises to unlock new potential in the operation of offshore wind farms – the fastest-growing segment of the offshore industry,” said Dr. Andry Maykol Pinto, Project Coordinator, ATLANTIS.

“Research projects like ATLANTIS are crucial to this industry’s ongoing development, and solutions like OCTOPUS allow stakeholders to leverage the benefits on an increasingly electric, digital and connected marine environment. Together, we will help the offshore wind market to cut costs while enhancing efficiency, sustainability and safety in inspection and maintenance operations.”

In addition to planning missions from port to wind farm, the new module of OCTOPUS will be taking into consideration the operational limitations of the ship and personnel, as well as assess deployment opportunities for remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs), unmanned surface vehicles, and unmanned aerial vehicles.

“OCTOPUS is about turning data into actionable insights to support decision making at sea,” said Antto Shemeikka, Vice President Digital Services, ABB Marine & Ports.

“The new module is an industry first as it allows the user ashore to plan offshore operations according to the performance of the vessel, crew and equipment in the conditions they face. This is a significant step forward for remote decision making: in adverse weather or rough seas, a mission or an ROV launch could be aborted to save a wasted deployment or worse. There are clear benefits for safety as well efficiency.”

The ATLANTIS research project is being staged at two monitoring testbeds in the Atlantic Ocean – one off the coast of Viana do Castelo, Portugal, and the other further out to sea. By better understanding how vessels and robots behave, researchers will identify opportunities to improve inspection and maintenance procedures.

The project results will be made available under EU’s Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS).

Although the latest addition to the OCTOPUS suite was developed with ATLANTIS in mind, its potential applications extend beyond the offshore wind industry, ABB said.

The company’s vision is to develop this module as a tool to serve multiple sectors – such as planning short routes for passenger ships or supply operations for rigs and floating offshore units. In addition, if a vessel of any kind is caught in unfavorable conditions, OCTOPUS would be able to determine a smoother, safer course, according to ABB.