F4 - Increased use of automation to reduce risk in installation and operation (O&M)

F - Operations, Management, Maintenance and Safety

Status - published
Last updated on: 26/03/2020


Human activity is a governing hazard in the offshore environment, need for reduced human risk exposure in offshore operations.


Increased use of automation to reduce human risk exposure in ORE installation and in operation and maintenance (O&M).

Context And Need


The increased number and maintenance needs for offshore assets, makes human interventions one of the main hazards in the ORE sector and should be avoided where possible/feasible.

The targeted use of automation has the potential to reduce human risk exposure. This will require dedicated testing and implementation efforts of automation solutions.


Identify optimal trade-off between component redundancies and human intervention

Offshore assets are facing a difficult reliability vs. lifecycle cost challenge. Increasing system reliabilities by increasing component redundancies will increase cost, but may overall reduce the lifecycle cost of the asset, by overcompensating the initially higher CAPEX through reduced production losses and lower O&M cost.

The increasing quantity and value of ORE assets requires an improved understanding and estimation of O&M activities, cost and scheduling. Risk-based approaches can help to estimate the likelihood and consequence.


In order to reduce the risk to human life in servicing O&M requirements of ORE structures, redundant systems to reduce time off for maintenance and human intervention may be considered. This may be achieved through increasing system reliabilities by increasing component redundancies, however this is a design trade-off with cost. Evaluating and specifying the ideal trade-off point between system reliability and lifecycle cost is needed, as well as better understanding of O&M uncertainties and the adoption of risk-based approaches to minimise risk in ORE O&M.

Impact Potential

  • The main impact is to reduce human hazard exposure in the offshore environment, this will also lead to reduction in CAPEX and OPEX in ORE.
  • A balanced and measured increase of reliability has the potential to reduce OPEX cost through decreased production losses and reduced human interventions.
  • If O&M uncertainties can be reduced the overall OPEX cost and production losses can be reduced.

Research Status

Automation of routine operations is implemented, e.g. Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) data; one off (installation) operations require significant human intervention. Some research to automate processes in offshore wind installations/sub-systems ongoing.

Some evidence of implementation (transformers for offshore wind), applicable to other components

Several O&M models in use, many are deterministic/empirical and would benefit from probabilistic methods.

Following projects are related:

  • HOME-Offshore: Holistic Operation and Maintenance for Energy from Offshore Wind Farms (EPSRC, EP/P009743/1) - This project investigates the use of predictive modelling, robotics, advanced sensors and big data techniques to target interventions and thus improve safety, and reduce the cost, of the operation and maintenance of offshore wind farms. This will also help address the increasing shortage of skilled workers in this field. www.homeoffshore.org
  • FLOTANT (Innovative, low cost, low weight and safe floating wind technology optimized for deep water wind sites): The main objective of FLOTANT is the development of innovative solutions to improve the robustness and cost-efficiency of 10+MW wind turbine generators in deep waters (100-600m). This goal will be achieved through the design and test of specific components, as well as the assessment and optimisation of the construction, installation, operation and decommissioning techniques, in line with state-of-the-art practices and environmental constraints http://flotantproject.eu/


We would also like to invite UK researchers and industry stakeholders within ORE to submit links to research projects, both past and present, for inclusion within the landscape.

Therefore, if you have a UK-based research project within an area of ORE that you feel is relevant to a specific research theme or challenge within the Research Landscape, click HERE to submit your research project to the research landscape


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