The objectives of the ARGOS (Autonomous Robot for Gas and Oil Sites) Challenge are to design the first autonomous surface robot for oil and gas sites, in less than three years, and strengthen the safety of our personnel. Five international teams are dueling it out until December 2016.
Simply put, risk management is a core preoccupation at oil and gas sites. “This competition is our way to make the robotics industry more aware of our challenges ,” explains Daniel Plathey, R&D Vice President at Exploration & Production. “We're relying on open innovation to do that. The five teams bring together very diverse skills and expertise we don’t have at Total. They’re outside of our core business, but able to boost research."
What will the robots have to be able to do to genuinely enhance the safety of our personnel?
- Perform routine tasks: Perform inspection rounds, take equipment pressure readings and analyze the values autonomously, check the temperature of certain materials and the position of valves, and detect anomalies such as gas leaks.
- Handle high-risk situations: Get around or over unexpected obstacles and intervene at accident sites where people cannot, to analyze the situation and send data and images in real time.
“And they have to perform all of that while meeting the specific requirements of an industrial environment and adapting to extreme temperatures ranging from -50°C to +50°C, 100% humidity and more,” adds Project Manager Kris Kydd.
The winning robot will then have to demonstrate its capabilities under real conditions on an actual total production site, before being considered for commercial development and ultimately reducing the risks to which our personnel are exposed. The robot would allow them to focus on value-added tasks. It would also optimize our operations thanks to high responsiveness and reliability. Lastly, it would improve the feasibility of projects in challenging conditions.
A Total competition on a par with our determination to meet the immense challenges that our teams face today.