Vaarst goes deep to develop another global subsea first

Vaarst, a leader in accelerating data intelligence, has developed the world’s first real-time data collection system capable of building live 3D reconstructions in deep waters down to 6000m/19685ft feet.

This depth of operation was requested by the marine ecology and salvage industries and will also be of use to the energy industry. Industries that explore and operate in deepwater sites around the world including South America, in the Gulf of Mexico and West Africa can now deploy Vaarst’s industry leading SubSLAM® X2 technology to deliver complete spatial reconstructions to advance understanding of challenging subsea environments using SubSLAM® Deeper.

Vaarst’s technology enables complete, accurate subsea data capture and intelligence for faster and easier decision making. SubSLAM® X2 is the first real-time system to deliver dense point cloud data with perfect relative positioning and sub-millimetre precision underwater.

Developed in the UK, SubSLAM® addresses many time-consuming disadvantages of conventional inspection procedures while delivering more detailed, quantifiable datasets faster than previously available. Applications across projects range from asset integrity, UWILD, subsea metrology for construction projects, decommissioning, retrofit engineering, UXO clearance and defect analysis.

The latest addition to the SubSLAM® X2 family, Deeper, triples the capability of Vaarst’s existing deepwater system which operates down to 2,000m/6562ft. Vaarst also has a shallow water system which operates to depths of 300m/984ft. 

Fully tested to a depth of 6,700m, well beyond a 10% threshold, SubSLAM® Deeper’s hardware was proven to be robust enough to withstand intense pressure while its ruggedised software and measurement performance was not affected by greater deepwater operation. It is already successfully operational in the Gulf.

In keeping with other SubSLAM® X2 models, 3D reconstructions can be generated simultaneously while performing visual inspections. Reconstructions and inspection data can be live streamed to devices anywhere in the world over low bandwidth links (≤200kbps), enabling real-time assessment and remote manipulation of view and measurements.

Joe Tidball, Vaarst VP Sales & Marketing, explained why this was an important addition to the SubSLAM® X2 family which will bring benefits to a wide range of customers around the world:

“As the subsea industry moves to using 3D data more often as a standard deliverable, we were continually asked to support projects beyond the 2,000m rating of our existing SubSLAM systems. We’ve built on the verified X2 platform to create a system that can be used by engineers, researchers and surveyors that need accurate 3D modelling and precise measurements to de-risk and verify their deepwater activities.

“SubSLAM Deeper’s unique ability to function at depths far below what’s currently offered gives operators the capability to explore new fields in even deeper, more hostile environments.

“While immediately serving the energy industry, SubSLAM® Deeper has application in other sectors, including marine salvage. Having access to complete and accurate data about deep underwater structures will enable their condition to be assessed, whether they can be recovered and determine if they pose an environmental hazard through, for example, damage that could leak fluids.

“SubSLAM® Deeper provides marine ecologists with the capability of mapping deep sea environments to assess species density, habitat morphology or monitor changes over time.”

Proven to be an industry game changer, SubSLAM® utilises a 4K stereo camera pair to provide exceptional resolution video while simultaneously create dense 3D point clouds at sub-millimetre accuracy. By using stereo imagery no scale bars are required, speeding up operations through more straightforward task plans.

Mounted on any ROV carrying out a visual inspection, SubSLAM® proves inspection coverage allowing work to be complete in a fraction of the time of other systems. This reduces potential for unnecessary additional mobilisations bringing cost and efficiency benefits to customers.

SubSLAM®, SubSLAM®Deep and SubSLAM® Deeper are available to purchase or day rate hire with systems ready to ship globally.