Robotics & Autonomous Systems

Find out more about our robotics and autonomous systems testing and validation facilities.

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Electrical Infrastructure Research Hub

The Catapult has appointed the University of Strathclyde and the University of Manchester to form the Electrical Infrastructure Research Hub.

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Automation & Engineering Solutions

Find out more about our work in robotics, autonomous systems and artificial intelligence.

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Stay Current

Dig deeper into the biggest issues facing offshore wind, wave and tidal energy with our series of Analysis & Insight papers.

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Innovation Challenges

Solving these technology innovation challenges will help drive down the cost of offshore renewable energy, with positive effects for the industry and UK economy. If your technology has the answer, get in touch via our contact form on the Innovation Challenges page.

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Innovation Challenges

Autonomous Subsea Inspection Methods


Cable issues account for over 80% of insurance claims on offshore wind farms. Regular surveys of the subsea wind farm infrastructure help to identify potential issues before they arise, but current methods of inspection require large vessels which are very expensive and require considerable manpower to operate.  A solution is required to minimise the use of vessels and the need for offshore personnel to reduce the overall cost of subsea surveys and inspection.


Develop a cost-effective subsea survey methodology for cables, substructures and surrounding seabed surveys that reduces the vessel requirement through the utilisation of autonomous technologies.

Operating Conditions
  • Water depths up to 60m for fixed bottom wind farms.
  • Up to 600 km cabling.
  • Wind farm areas up to 700 km2 for the UK CFD allocation Round 3 sites.

O&M costs can account for up to 25% of the levelised cost of energy from an offshore wind farm.


Operations and maintenance (O&M) costs can account for up to 25% of the levelised cost of energy from an offshore wind farm.  Wind turbines are increasing in size – there has been a 60% growth in power rating from 2010 to 2016. They’re being sited further from shore (currently averaging 43.5km and set to increase during the build of UK Round 3 projects) and in deeper water. This increases the challenges associated with servicing and maintaining them, as well as the costs, but creates exciting opportunities for innovative technologies as wind farm Owner/Operators look to reduce those costs.

Market size

The O&M market has seen rapid growth following a sustained offshore wind build programme in Europe, led by the UK and Germany. Europe has 4,149 offshore turbines installed and grid-connected as of January 2018, totalling 15,780 MW of installed capacity. All these turbines require regular servicing and maintenance throughout their 20 – 25 year design life and the average operating expenditure (OPEX) ranges from £60,000 /MW/year (E&Y, 2009) to £87,500 /MW/year (BVG Associates, 2012).

Market Forecast

The 11 offshore wind projects currently under construction in Europe will increase installed capacity by a further 2.9 GW. By 2020, Europe will have 25 GW of installed capacity.

Do you have a potential solution?

Autonomous technologies that can reduce the cost of offshore wind subsea maintenance have an enormous potential market.

Apply now

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