ORE Catapult, ORCA Hub join forces for robotics in offshore renewables

The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult and the Offshore Robotics for Certification of Assets (ORCA) Hub will collaborate on translating UK robotics innovation and research expertise into products and services for the offshore renewables’ industry.

ORE Catapult

ORE Catapult and ORCA Hub will utilise both their research expertise and test and demonstration facilities to carry out joint research programmes and projects, and will link key industry partners with academia based on specific needs and use cases.

“We will be able to bridge the gap between the cutting-edge applied robotics research taking place in the UK right now and the needs of industry, who are focused on driving down costs, improving health and safety and ultimately the productivity and efficiency of our offshore renewable energy plant”, said Chris Hill, ORE Catapult’s Operational Performance Director.

Furthermore, the organisations plan to develop a national strategy with specific robotics technology innovation roadmaps towards commercialisation.

They will also work on developing future skills by supporting MSc and PhD projects, with the ORCA Hub being a collaboration led by the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics (Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh), with Imperial College London and the Universities of Oxford and Liverpool.

“There is enormous scope for the application of robotics solutions within the energy sector to reduce cost and risk, increase productivity and contribute towards net zero energy transition. We look forward to strengthening our relationship with the ORE to really drill drown on use cases, industry partnerships and our culture of development by demonstration”, said Professor David Lane CBE, ORCA Hub Director.

In 2019, the ORCA Hub unveiled fully autonomous drones that can inspect offshore energy infrastructure, and 15 other autonomous and semi-autonomous robotic solutions at ORE Catapult in Blyth.

Two years earlier, the robotics consortium, working with 31 industrial and innovation partners, announced up to GBP 36 million of support to advance robotics and Artificial Intelligence technologies for the inspection, repair, maintenance and certification of offshore energy platforms and assets.