Robotics is a field with already established uses in oil and gas, for example in subsea, but where a very large additional potential remains. For instance, there is growing interest in robotics applications for facilities inspections and maintenance, for offshore drilling, for access to hard-to-reach and hazardous areas, and more autonomous systems for subsea surveying and intervention. Benefits include improved monitoring, increased safety and reduction of overall operating costs.
The Robotics in Hazardous Environments programme will encourage and stimulate the development and demonstration of robotics and artificial intelligence (RAI) technologies for extreme and challenging environments, which include offshore energy, nuclear, deep mining and space.
Two competitions with a combined value of £16m have recently been launched where UK organisations (SMEs, large organisations or academia) can apply for up to 70% grant funding to tackle the challenges highlighted in the competition scope. The funding competitions represent an excellent opportunity for new technology ideas and those already under development, and this funding can be complementary with other programmes within the oil and gas sector, including those by the Oil and Gas Technology Centre, and SubseaUK/NSRI.
Details of the competitions are given below:
1. £6m for Demonstrators for RAI in extreme and challenging environments – phase 1
This is the first phase of the demonstrator programme. It is for projects focusing on technical feasibility studies of individual technologies, systems or subsystems for off-shore energy, nuclear energy, space and deep mining applications. Phase 2 will be launched in 2018.
Projects can range in size from £50,000-£500,000 with durations between 3-12 months
Closing date is 19th July. Full details can be found here
2. £10m Research and development competition for RAI in extreme and challenging environments
The aim of this competition is to speed up the development, make them safer, more economical and increase productivity of RAI technologies that would be used across the off-shore energy, nuclear energy, space and deep mining applications and other extreme and challenging environments.
Projects can range in size from £50,000-£2m with durations up to 36 months
Closing date is 2nd August. Full details can be found here