A project from Heriot-Watt University has been shortlisted in the Partnership award at this year's Herald Higher Education Awards.
The Offshore Robotics for Certification of Assets (ORCA) Hub brings together five leading academic institutions and over 30 industrial and innovation partners in a collaborative project on an unprecedented scale.
The news follows the announcement last month that the project was the winner of a prestigious Guardian University Award for Business Collaboration.
The ORCA Hub's activities are designed to lead advancement in key robotics and A.I. technologies that will create a step change in the current practices of offshore inspection, repair and maintenance.
The Edinburgh Centre for Robotics, a partnership between Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh, leads the project to advance robotics and Artificial Intelligence technologies for the inspection, repair, maintenance and certification of offshore energy platforms and assets.
ORCA is enhancing the feasibility of large-scale monitoring of subsea assets such as cables, seabed structures and marine energy devices. The offshore energy industry, at all points of the supply and delivery chain, both subsea or topside, can now access globally-leading research that is conducted specifically to solve the industry's existing and emerging challenges.
Professor David Lane of Heriot-Watt University and Director of the ORCA Hub said: "The international offshore energy industry faces many challenges, including near-permanent low oil prices, expensive decommissioning commitments of old infrastructure, particularly in the North Sea, and small margins on the traded commodity price per KWh of offshore renewable energy. Coupled to this, the offshore workforce is ageing as the new generation of qualified graduates seek less hazardous onshore opportunities.
"The goal is to develop shore-operated autonomous and semi-autonomous solutions for inspection, maintenance and decommissioning of offshore energy infrastructure using marine, terrestrial and airborne robotic systems.
"The ORCA Hub's activities are designed to lead advancement in key robotics and A.I. technologies that will create a step change in the current practices of offshore inspection, repair and maintenance. Ours will be the largest academic centre in the world for research into offshore asset robotics technology."
Heriot-Watt's Year of Robotics 2017 is also shortlisted in the Campaign of the Year category. The Herald Higher Education Awards 2018 are held in association with the Scottish Funding Council. Winners will be announced at a ceremony held in Glasgow on Thursday 28 June.