SMD Gears for Next-Gen Electric ROV Launch

Subsea technology specialists SMD has come one step closer to rolling out its electric work-class Quantum EV ROV.

The Newcastle-based firm has completed the first phase in a series of stress-tests on the full range of components that make up the innovative modular EV ROV design.

The electric ROV was unveiled in September 2019 and since then SMD has been developing this prototype Quantum EV as part of its environmentally responsible solution to next generation subsea robotics.

According to SMD, all components are now certified to perform at depths of 6,000 metres and have passed environmental testing. The development of the propulsion system allows for optimum performance as well as longevity, stability and consistency. Quantum EV can reliably run for longer, without the need for manual intervention.

The vehicle is equipped with a new 200kW high power electric thrust system, a new long-distance DC transmission solution and locally managed DC power system.

Quantum EV has a 15% increase in performance while using half the energy of a current Work Class ROV. The new platform also features advanced flight processing for high quality survey, battery compatibility for tetherless operations and is future proofed to accept AI command technology.

SMD has already started the next phase of development. Dynamic tests will take place during a series of wet trails, many in open water over the coming months, with first deliveries expected to begin in 9-12 months.

Quantum EV will soon be joined by other models in the range, SMD said. As well as being used to maintain traditional subsea infrastructure, this new generation ROV technology is being developed for use with robotic unmanned surface vessels (USVs).

Mark Collins, SMD’s director for Remote and Autonomous Technologies, said: “Over the past four years our engineering and innovation teams have been on a journey to develop a high performing, stable vehicle that gives our customers ultimate control across a range of sectors and tasks.

“The development of the EV-ROV has taken place very much in collaboration with our customers and our partners – their needs continue to be at the heart of this ground-breaking technology. Since September we have put a large amount of effort into testing components in a range of real-world scenarios. We are confident it will significantly outperform the current models, even in the most challenging of subsea situations.

“We have focused on developing a tool that can be relied upon to take operational efficiency to a new level that’s easy to own and use. The technology will support our client’s ambitions and is suitable for traditional vessel, Unmanned Vessel and resident applications. One of the novel things about the EV technology is its modular flexibility. We’ve created future-ready, component-based, modular architecture which can be extrapolated for different uses; easily transferred for use in AUVs and USVs.

“The resulting electric workclass vehicle will work in the strongest currents with performance surpassing even the best hydraulic vehicles.”