Contracted Autonomous Underwater Robots to Survey Site of First US Floating Offshore Wind Farm

Norwegian energy company Equinor recently secured a 2-gigawatt lease in Morro Bay, California for the development of the US’s first floating offshore wind farm on the West Coast. This project has the potential to generate enough energy to power approximately 750,000 US households. In order to conduct a site investigation survey at Equinor’s floating offshore wind lease area, Equinor has signed a contract with marine robotics company Ocean Infinity. The survey will be conducted using multiple autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) simultaneously.

AUVs are underwater robots that are capable of operating independently, reaching depths that human divers cannot. These modular robots can be customized with features such as sonar, depth sensors, and cameras. They are either pre-programmed or controlled remotely by operators, who determine where, when, and what the AUVs should sample. The data collected by the AUVs is then retrieved by the operators when the robots resurface.

The data gathered by Ocean Infinity’s AUVs at the Morro Bay site will play a crucial role in the development and refinement of Equinor’s floating offshore wind farm design. Additionally, it will inform the site assessment and construction and operations plans.

According to Shawntel Johnson, the director of business development at Ocean Infinity, AUVs are the ideal tool for this project due to their ability to provide high-quality data in water depths ranging from 974 to 1317 meters. Additionally, they offer efficiency over large areas.

The deployment of the AUVs at Morro Bay is scheduled for February 2024.

– Equinor, Ocean Infinity Contract AUVs For Floating Wind Farm Site Survey
– What are AUVs and how are they used in underwater exploration?
– Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs): Current and Future Perspectives