One of the most recent developments in the world of high-tech offshore oil and gas operations is the introduction of marine robots.

These robots can not only extend flexibility and hours of operation, but also reduce the risks associated with using divers many kilometres out to sea.

One form of marine robots is underwater autonomous vehicles (UAVs), which are now being used to identify and combat biofouling – or the spread of unwanted plants or animals in the marine environment.

Organisations such as CSIRO and Fastwave in Perth have appeared at recent APPEA conferences to demonstrate how UAVs can detect and neutralise marine biosecurity risks.

New designs, such as CSIRO’s Starbug UAV, are small enough to be operated by one person without the need for cranes and other specialised equipment.

These UAVs can be used to autonomously inspect offshore vessels and rigs to look for potential biofoulling.

The UAV can take samples or use microwave, ultraviolet or other methods to neutralise threatening species.

APPEA has written some more facts on biosecurity that can be accessed on our website at http://www.appea.com.au/industry-in-depth/technical-information/environment/biosecurity/ .

For more information, see these links: Fastwave and CSIRObotics