Rovco and Vaarst are two symbiotic, British sister companies. Combining machine learning, 3D computer vision and robotic autonomy/control, Vaarst’s technology retrofits to existing robotics, making them more efficient thus improving margins while lowering costs to customers. Rovco, using the technology created by Vaarst, deploys intelligent robotic vessels and subsea vehicles on wind farms and other marine assets, transforming how the world surveys the seafloor and inspects subsea assets. Here, Chief of Staff Weronika Socha explains more about Rovco & Vaarst’s history, and how their solutions can help advance the offshore wind sector.
Can you tell us a bit about the company and its founders?
We are market leaders in the application of 3D vision and artificial intelligence in marine robotics. The company was founded by Brian Allen and Joe Tidball. Brian came from the offshore industry with extensive experience leading subsea robotics teams whilst building windfarms and other underwater infrastructure. Joe is a Cat A Hydrographic Surveyor and brought the 3D concept to Rovco after studying the accuracy of underwater laser scanning and photogrammetry during his master’s degree. Initially, Vaarst was nested within Rovco. Recently the businesses separated to serve a broader market.
How does your solution contribute to the Digitalisation and Decarbonisation of the energy sector?
Our products and services change the way offshore energy assets are surveyed and managed. By creating 3D models of marine assets and using artificial intelligence to survey, inspect and analyse subsea infrastructure and maps we are future-proofing data acquisition. It allows asset owners better insight into potential issues and brings in autonomous marine work. This reduces cost and minimises the carbon footprint of operations at sea.
What is your company’s proudest achievement to date?
This year we had a few moments like that. A former Chief Data Officer and Deputy Chief Technology Officer at the UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO, the largest hydrographic service in the world) has joined our team as CTO. We have delivered a very successful project with our technology for one of the largest wind farm operators with over 50B USD in assets, effectively changing how they want their data to be collected. We have also made our first commercial sales of the SubSLAM X2 and signed multi-year lease agreements with a number of major offshore services companies, signalling that our technology is being adopted as a state-of-art method for acquiring subsea data.
What specifically attracts you about the prospect of expanding to the Japanese market?
Japan has the potential to become one of the most important offshore renewable energy players in the world. We have an opportunity to help develop its capacity from the design stage while bringing in new techniques that will help Japan lead the way with technology adoption. Japan can reap great benefits from future-proofing its marine strategies with the help of our technology.
How will your solution/product help advance the Japanese energy sector?
Our products and services remove the need for large vessels and minimise people at sea. This lowers the cost of offshore operations enabling marine renewable energy in Japan to flourish. At the same time, we will help reduce the carbon footprint of the sector.