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Welaptega, an Ashtead Technology company, has launched a $500,000 (USD) initiative to develop a product to enable digital twinning of underwater infrastructure without the need for offshore personnel.

Funding for the Unmanned Digital Twinning Project has been awarded by Canada’s Ocean Supercluster, an industry-led, national ocean cluster that’s growing the ocean economy in a digital, sustainable, and inclusive way.

In collaboration with Whitecap Scientific, SubC Imaging, and Nova Scotia Community College SEATAC division, the new digital twinning technology will develop an intuitive bridge between Welaptega’s and Whitecap Scientific’s technology systems. Upon successful launch of the project, conventional offshore ROV and vessel crew will be able to confidently collect high quality image data for post-processing digital twins, guided by real-time 3D reconstruction, to give feedback on image quality and coverage.

Tyler de Gier, General Manager of Welaptega, said: “We’re excited to be at the forefront of transitioning high-quality digital twinning services from the domain of specialists to conventional ROV and vessel crew. Furthermore, we’re able to achieve this through collaboration between Atlantic Canadian companies, providing ongoing employment opportunities and strengthening Atlantic Canada’s export industry.”

Sam Bromley, CEO of Whitecap Scientific, said: “This project is a shining example of how the Ocean Supercluster can bring together two complementary, world-leading companies in underwater 3D inspection to accelerate technological and product advances for the industry. We are proud to work with Welaptega, SubC Imaging, and SEATAC, to extend the ease of use, flexibility, and computational intelligence of Whitecap Scientific’s live ROV3D scanning system to Welaptega’s high-precision photogrammetry workflows.”

Digital twins digitise replicas of physical assets, used for integrity management, simulations, and the general visualisation of remote infrastructure to maintain the economic viability of assets, increase safety and reduce risk.

De Gier, added: “The flexible product created through this project will allow our clients to cost-effectively digitise their high value, safety critical assets without the need for offshore photogrammetry specialists, facilitating a transition to unmanned operations without jeopardising service quality.”

Together with members and partners, the Ocean Supercluster is accelerating the development and commercialisation of globally-relevant ocean solutions, and advancing Canada’s position as a global leader in ocean.

Commenting on the latest project award, Kendra MacDonald, CEO of Canada’s Ocean Supercluster, said: “It’s when we work together to solve shared challenges in the ocean, that we achieve the greatest outcomes. We are thrilled to see companies come together from across the region, in collaboration with academia to help bring a new digital twinning solution to ocean industries for the management of infrastructure at sea with a solution built in Atlantic Canada.”