Fugro General Robotics Limited (FGRL), has launched DeepTouch its next-generation, ROV pilot training simulator which can also speed up the evaluation of subsea engineering designs.
DeepTouch brings fully force-modelled physics simulation to subsea and ROV simulators so that any object in the world model both feels and behaves like the real thing. For the first time, DeepTouch brings "touch and feel" interactive simulation tools that give the simulator pilot the same graduated tactile response as if he were actually using a tool, like a manipulator, to move or adjust a subsea component in the field.
Customisation is straightforward and programming skills are not required. DeepTouch allows an engineer to drag and drop objects from the extensive libraries to build subsea worlds containing items such as vessels, pipes, cables and ROVs. DeepTouch can also show electrical and hydraulic circuits in complex subsea machinery, modelling down to great detail within the ROV itself, which makes it quick and easy to change, or even create a new vehicle design. DeepTouch simulation makes it simple to evaluate and change designs prior to manufacture and reduces reliance on expensive and time consuming prototypes. FGRL expects to attract orders for DeepTouch from within the Fugro Group and also from third party subsea services providers.
"DeepTouch heralds a new era in subsea simulation. Models can be as detailed as the hydraulic or electric circuits comprising the sub assemblies of an ROV or other tool system. At the same time this can interconnect with cables, tethers, vessels and other real world items all of which can be controlled, driven, and winched in realistic fashion," said Dr Jason Tisdall, FGRL Managing Director. "The resulting information is truly 3D and allows immersive documentation, live data recording, training and marketing material all to be built on real physics-based outcomes."
An important component of subsea tools are the hydraulic actuators, rotational and linear joints used in most tools. These units are built up to create robotic manipulator arms, like the Titan IV and RigMaster, and the same parts can be used to build up valves and other subsea components. Because the underlying circuits are fully modelled, it gives ROV pilot supervisors a complete overview allowing them to "break" individual circuits and individual components as a test of how well pilots understand their equipment. The supervisor can do this in real-time, or develop a problem scenario for trainees to resolve. Trainees can repeat a scenario until they get it right. The whole dataset and 3D world is recorded and can be returned to at any point for review.
Like its predecessor the ROVolution simulator, DeepTouch uses cost-effective PC hardware running Windows XP and existing ROVolution simulators can be upgraded to DeepTouch specification. DeepTouch is available now.