TechnipFMC selects RTI's Connext DDS for its ROVs

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The Schilling Robotics business unit of TechnipFMC, a global leader in Oil & Gas projects, technologies, systems and services, has selected Real-Time Innovations’s (RTI) RTI Connext DDS as the connectivity framework for its underwater ROVs.

A longstanding RTI customer that has been working with the company for nearly 20 years, TechnipFMC is using 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.

TechnipFMC’s ROVs are used in complex subsea and offshore projects. Capable of operating at depths of 3,000 meters or more below sea-level, the systems are deployed to “assist with servicing subsea infrastructure, managing assets and performing crucial maintenance and construction tasks at the seafloor.”

​Due to the difficult nature and agility needed to work offshore and with remote underwater robots, these projects require highly skilled and trained operators. Oftentimes, there can be a lack of operators trained for these specific tasks, so customers tend to look for automated technical platforms to bridge the labor gap.

The companies say that a “revolution in underwater, real-time robotic controls is underway” thanks to TechnipFMC’s integration of Connext DDS, being that historically, this type of equipment has been teleoperated. But with TechnipFMC’s integration of Connext DDS, a move from manual to automated functions is taking place.

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,” according to the companies.

“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,” explains Bijou Abraham, chief software engineer at TechnipFMC, via GlobeNewswire.

“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.”

TechnipFMC began its relationship with RTI by implementing RTI’s early stage Connext framework, NDDS, in its ROV products. In 2010, TechnipFMC started building a new generation of ROV control software, and made the switch from NDDS to Connext DDS Professional, which provided a “more flexible, scalable and customizable solution” for its customers.

TechnipFMC continues to utilize RTI’s software in the “core software stack” of its robotic systems, as it relies on Connext DDS to “reliably transport sensor and control data within the ROV control system network.”

Thanks to Connext DDS, the TechnipFMC team can easily implement new features without having to “re-architect the data transport infrastructure.” To meet evolving market demands and customization requests, the team can also seamlessly and rapidly add and remove features.

Connext DDS provides “granular customization,” and allows TechnipFMC to quickly develop new product functions, as well as support customer-specific hardware.

“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,” says 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.”