General Robotics & Sonsub to Cooperate on Future Product Development

General Robotics Limited and Saipem UK's Sonsub Division have signed a framework agreement to cooperate on future product development.

The first product from the agreement will be a Soil Mechanics module designed as an add-in to GRL's DeepSim desktop subsea planning simulator. GRL is writing the software with scenario input from Sonsub. Sonsub's contribution is general in terms of its wide experience of seabed conditions, but highly specific where this relates to the behavioral characteristics of the equipment it uses on the seafloor. The result is a generic, open architecture, seabed soil mechanics simulator which GRL will add to its product line, and plug-in modules which are specific to Sonsub's techniques and equipment, and which will remain Sonsub's property. Sonsub's engineers will be able to develop these models further for themselves. GRL can supply soil mechanics simulators to other customers and help them to develop their own modules built around the equipment and methodologies they employ.

"Cooperation between Sonsub and GRL is proving an excellent vehicle for ventures into uncharted engineering and operational areas," said Giorgio Martelli, Sonsub's General Manager. "The ability to model complex interactions between seabed and offshore equipment in a way that is both intuitive and real-time, will increase the accuracy of our subsea project planning."

"The importance of this agreement with Sonsub is the high level of commitment on both sides to developing advanced tools to meet the immediate operational needs of both parties," said Dr Jason Tisdall, Managing Director, General Robotics Limited. "Attempting to predict what happens when you try to position pipelines and other equipment on the ocean floor is complex and very expensive when you get it wrong. The significance of the new product will lie in modelling seabed behaviour so as to predict and avoid problems."

Founded in 1988, GRL is the world leader in developing customized, subsea simulation solutions. GRL has established a reputation for delivering high quality, innovative simulation tools for:

--Visualisation, planning and inspection for the off-shore oil industry
--Real-time subsea cable, riser and anchor modelling
--Control of robotic manipulators for inspection, cleaning and welding
--Training/planning simulators for ROVs and submarine rescue vehicles.

Sonsub is a part of the worldwide Saipem group that specialises in subsea intervention and remote technology via three main business service lines: Subsea Construction, Remotely Operated Vehicles and Tools, Inspection, Repair and Maintenance of subsea oil & gas facilities. The Sonsub Division maintains offices in the USA, United Kingdom, Norway, Italy, and Singapore. Supporting Sonsub's capabilities is its fleet of over 60 remotely operated vehicles, specialised tooling packages for intervention and tie-ins, and 10 installation vessels.