Terna Tested Submarine Drone for Marine Geophysical Surveys

Source: www.gulfoilandgas.com 1/11/2024, Location: Europe

Project “Odisseo” launched in cooperation with US startup Terradepth; autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) technology represents an innovative approach to surveying the seabed for planning environmentally friendly submarine electrical connections

Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) are being employed for marine geophysical surveys during the planning of important infrastructure, guaranteeing full respect for the environment. This is the goal of the project “Odisseo”, launched by Terna, the Italian transmission grid operator led by Giuseppina Di Foggia, in cooperation with Terradepth, a US startup and leading provider of marine survey services and ocean data solutions.

The ten-year National Grid Development Plan outlines a significant increase in investment in submarine-cable infrastructure, to develop a more efficient and reliable grid. Large submarine infrastructure projects, including the Tyrrhenian Link, connecting Campania, Sicily and Sardinia, the Adriatic Link, between the Italian regions of Marche and Abruzzo, and Elmed, the energy bridge between Italy and Tunisia, represent Terna’s sustainable response to constant growth in energy demand using innovative, effective solutions that minimise interference with the natural environment. The security of submarine assets is one of the main drivers of design and involves the adoption of appropriate cable laying and protection techniques. In this context, the implementation and adoption of cutting-edge technology is an enabling factor.

In the context of the “Odisseo” project, the first test was conducted off the coast near the port of Casamicciola Terme, on the island of Ischia (Naples, Italy). During geophysical surveying of the seabed, Terna’s technicians were able to test the performance of the “Gavia” drone, the AUV from Terradepth employed for the purpose, equipped with advanced sensors, including Echo Sounder (MBES), Side Scan Sonar and HD Camera.

“The partnership with Terradepth has enabled testing of innovative technologies, such as submarine drones, which can supplement and integrate traditional tools used to examine the seabed. Terna invests significant resources in marine surveying, which is a strategic practice for effective planning of technologically advanced submarine electrical connections”, said Terna’s Major Projects and International Development Director, Giacomo Donnini.

“Terna remains open to experimentation with innovative solutions such as the underwater Underwater Vehicles, to explore their possible use to support the planning of complex strategic infrastructure like large submarine electrical connections, with a close focus on sustainability. Terna is a global leader in this regard”, commented Terna’s Innovation & Market Solutions Director, Massimiliano Garri.

Terradepth has proven expertise in using unmanned systems for high-resolution geophysical surveys in deep water. Terna came into contact with the US company through its San Francisco “Innovation Antenna”. This outpost in the Californian city is aimed at scouting and physically monitoring the US innovation ecosystem, establishing dialogue with startups located there. The project that led to testing with AUVs also involved constant collaboration between the Innovation team and the Major Projects and International Development team at Terna, which manages the creation of large submarine infrastructure.

Innovation is a pillar of Terna’s business and the “Odisseo” project is one of around 70 innovation projects launched by the company in five tech areas: Digital (smart energy and power management solutions), Energy Tech (innovative solutions that use more efficient, greener technologies), Grid Tech (technology for effective management of grid infrastructure), Advanced Materials (research and development for use of eco-friendly materials with reduced environmental impacts), and Robotics (for process automation).

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