British Petroleum Global

BP Global

The energy we produce serves to power economic growth and lift people out of poverty. In the future, the way heat, light and mobility are delivered will change. We aim to anchor our business in these changing patterns of demand, rather than in the quest for supply. We have a real contribution to make to the world’s ambition of a low carbon future.

Wavegliders, autonauts, deeptrekkers. Their names may sound like science fiction, but these robots are already at work from the ocean’s surface to the seabed. Known as ‘marine autonomous systems’, they are revolutionising how BP understands its underwater operating environment.

It’s been said we know more about the surface of the moon than the world’s oceans, but that could soon change with the advance of marine autonomous systems (MAS). Loaded with sensors and cameras, these aquatic robots can capture data from the world’s oceans faster, safer and cheaper than ever before.

MAS, which include both autonomous surface vehicles (ASVs) and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), help BP freely explore its remote offshore operating environments. These vehicles can transmit extraordinary amounts of data in near real-time, so scientists can accurately monitor the oceanic environment, assess risks, or effectively manage a crisis.

Battery-powered and pre-programmed, MAS can quickly launch from sea, shore or sky and remain independently active in the ocean for up to months at a time. While autonomous by design, you can communicate with the vehicles by satellite to give navigation commands or receive data. At the end of the mission, a surface vessel picks them up.

Such systems have actually been around since the 1950s. But it’s only in recent years, as technology has advanced and costs fallen, that these vehicles have become ready to take over underwater surveillance duties.

BP is currently putting MAS to the test; it has partnered with manufacturer Oceaneering for a large-scale AUV trial to survey pipelines and subsea infrastructure in the Gulf of Mexico, ahead of a full roll-out.

British Petroleum is an Associate Member within the NOC Marine Robotics Innovation Centre

Contact Information
Director / Head: 
Peter Collinson, Global Environmental Response Expert