TechnipFMC selects RTI’s connectivity technology for semi-autonomous underwater ROVs

Real-Time Innovations (RTI), the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) connectivity company, has announced that the Schilling Robotics business unit of TechnipFMC, a global leader in Oil & Gas projects, technologies, systems and services, has selected RTI Connext DDS as the connectivity framework for its underwater remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). 

TechnipFMC is leveraging RTI’s technology to build next-generation remote robotics controls, an integration that is enabling faster and more secure connectivity within TechnipFMC’s underwater ROVs. These systems are used by service companies that support some of the biggest names in Oil & Gas.

TechnipFMC’s ROVs are used in complex subsea and offshore projects. They can operate at depths of 3,000 meters or more below sea-level, and are deployed to assist with servicing subsea infrastructure, managing assets and performing crucial maintenance and construction tasks at the seafloor. Due to the complexity and agility needed to work offshore and with remote underwater robots, these projects require highly skilled and trained operators. Operators trained for these specific tasks can be in short supply, so customers look to automated technical solutions to help bridge this labor gap.

Historically, this type of equipment has been teleoperated, but with TechnipFMC’s integration of Connext DDS, a revolution in underwater, real-time robotic controls is underway, promoting a shift from manual to automated functions. These technological advances are promoting autonomy within the Oil & Gas market and helping boost efficiency, lower costs and accelerate schedules for enterprises within the industry.

TechnipFMC leverages RTI’s software in the core software stack of their robotic systems, relying on Connext DDS to reliably transport sensor and control data within the ROV control system network. With Connext DDS, the TechnipFMC team can easily implement new features without having to re-architect the data transport infrastructure, and can seamlessly and rapidly add and remove features to meet evolving market demands and customisation requests. Connext DDS provides granular customisation and enables TechnipFMC to quickly develop new product functions as well as support customer-specific hardware.

TechnipFMC is a longstanding RTI customer and has been working with the company for nearly two decades. TechnipFMC began their relationship with RTI by implementing NDDS, RTI’s early stage Connext framework in their ROV products. In 2010, TechnipFMC started building a new generation of ROV control software and made the natural switch from NDDS to Connext DDS Professional, which provided a more flexible, scalable and customisable solution for their customers.

“When you are operating on critical infrastructure that is thousands of meters below the ocean’s surface, performance and reliability are crucial because the smallest mistake could lead to a multi-billion-dollar disaster,” said Bijou Abraham, chief software engineer at TechnipFMC. “To address the critical nature of this application, our customers rely on our technology to monitor and prevent these types of disasters, and we rely on RTI to support us with the real-time connectivity required. We are confident that as we continue to develop our technology and expand our offerings, RTI Connext DDS will remain a solution that we can trust.”

RTI has proven experience in meeting the demanding reliability and connectivity requirements in some of the world’s harshest environments, such as the ocean floor,” said David Barnett, vice president of products and markets at RTI. “For the past two decades, Connext DDS has provided TechnipFMC with a reliable and customizable connectivity solution that has enabled the successful development of semi-autonomous robotic systems, resulting in improved efficiency among their customer base. We look forward to continuing our work together to further advance these complex underwater systems and increase IoT advancement within the Oil & Gas industry.”

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