UTEC, a global surveying company in subsea services group Acteon, recently successfully commissioned its new launch and recovery system (LARS) for the fleet of seven autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV) it uses for seabed surveys in the oil and renewables industries.
UTEC’s new LARS is a floating garage that enables an AUV to be launched and recovered without needing a small boat, thereby simplifying operations and improving safety. It also increases efficiency and reduces costs by enabling AUV surveys in parallel with construction or laying activities, as the LARS can be deployed from the same work vessel.
The LARS will see its first use on a pipeline inspection offshore West Africa later this month.
The system’s design uses flanged and bolted steel and aluminium tubulars for quick assembly and disassembly to ease transportation and storage. It can also be used for subsea launches. Global navigation satellite and ultra-short-baseline positioning systems can be mounted on the LARS to seed the AUV’s inertial navigation system positioning.
Paul Smith, UTEC group managing director, said, “UTEC’s low-logistics AUVs can be easily launched and recovered from a beach, harbour or survey vessel. The new LARS also makes it easier to operate our AUVs from large vessels, thereby extending their reach and providing flexibility for our clients.”