Geo Week News

December 11, 2019

SubSLAM Live can stream 3D scans from seafloor to surface


3D scanning has its data management challenges, including rendering, transmitting and sharing large files of scanned data in order to get them to the right stakeholders. But imagine having those same problems when what you need to look at is underwater. Rovco, an underwater autonomous vehicle and robotics developer has created both the hardware and the technology to address this challenge by creating a process to stream its underwater 3D data in real-time.

Founded in 2015, Rovco has the goal of upending traditional underwater surveying by replacing video with 3D scanning, and to introduce AI to make underwater surveys and inspections faster, better, and more effective. Their 3D mapping product, called SubSLAM, that uses a stereo camera system to create 3D reconstructions. SubSLAM X1 is a real-time underwater imaging system that delivers high resolution, dense 3D point clouds of subsea objects with millimetric precision

SubSLAM’s calibrated stereo camera recreates scenes and structures with high accuracy and precision, enhancing information captured through standard visual survey (or reducing the need for standard visual surveys altogether). True color and scale 3D reconstructions are clear and immediately available in CAD formats reducing the workflow between data collection, processing and review.

Rovco’s goal was to develop the technology that would allow for automated systems to complete the difficult and dangerous task of seabed mapping or underwater infrastructure inspection – key challenges for heavy industry, renewable energy offshore wind, and oil and gas industries. Combining 3D views with machine-learning based insights can improve inspectors’ ability to detect anomalies and can change the entire workflow of subsea asset management.

To manage the amount of data being captured in these monitoring and inspection, efforts, however, is made even more challenging when the human inspectors remain above the surface. To answer this challenge, Rovco has launched SubSLAM Live – a technology to stream 3D data, allowing clients to send underwater point clouds to any device in the world.

In a press release, CSO Iain Wallace explained how the streaming is accomplished.

“The model is compressed and progressively sent over a low-bandwidth <256Kb network link to a cloud server along with the ROV’s position. Authorized clients can then log into our highly secure Data Delivery Platform and view the live model, pulling the data from the cloud on-demand.”

The accurately calibrated stereo camera system model is also automatically scaled, which means that viewers can take live measurements of the assets as they follow the scan.

Wallace emphasized that this workflow will change the way underwater inspections are performed.

“To our knowledge, this technology is the first of its kind, anywhere in the world, to live stream from the seabed to a desk. We have been utilizing our SubSLAM technology for one year so far but with our ongoing investment in research and development, our latest capability of the system has revolutionized how subsea work can be carried out.”

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