April 2016 - 2nd competition of the Challenge ARGOS: Confront the robots with real conditions

Ten months have gone by since the first competition of the ARGOS Challenge. Only ten months to improve the performances of the robots and develop the new functionalities required for the second competition. The AIR-K, ARGONAUTS, FOXIRIS, LIO and VIKINGS teams were back on the competition site in Lacq (Southwest France) between April 4 and 8. An intensive schedule was waiting for them, with an ambitious and demanding program. Here is an overview of this second critical phase.  

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    ARGOS Challenge - 2e competition - April 2016

    Movie of the second competition of the ARGOS Challenge

An intensive, demanding and ambitious program

Six missions were lined up for the teams from April 4 to 8 – four in autonomous mode, one in remote-controlled and one is a mixture of both control modes. The aim was to have the robots tackle missions that reflect the reality of situations in the field. The key scenarios they had to face include:

  • A gas leak simulation using ultrasound (acoustics).
  • Obstacles placed at random on the circuit.
  • Alarms, unusual noises/interference.
  • A communication system crash (WIFI).
  • An unexpected source of heat.
  • Inconsistencies between the 3D model of the site and the actual field.

Using their artificial intelligence, the robots had to detect anomalies, analyze each new situation and react accordingly: autonomously return to the designated safety zone in the event of an emergency, alert the operator, etc. Through these missions, the jury was able to test the robots' capacity to manage unexpected and potentially risky situations.

This year, the robots issued a report on their inspection rounds after each mission. The data, images and measurements submitted enabled the jury to fine-tune their evaluation as soon as the test was completed.

Another new feature of this second stage was that the missions took place on the ground and first floors of the UMAD, which means that the robots had to negotiate the stairs in order to complete their inspection rounds.

ATEX certification at the crux of the competition

"The main aim of the ARGOS Challenge is to create robots able to operate in potentially explosive environments. ATEX certification is now a priority and a prerequisite for all evaluations of the potential of robotics in the oil & gas industry," emphasized Alan Goulois – President of the ARGOS jury and Senior Vice President, R&D, E&P until 2014 – in his closing speech for the first competition.  Ten months on, the jury was particularly attentive to the solutions put forward by the teams concerning ATEX standards during the presentation of the technical dossiers. An ambitious, yet vital challenge!

The winner of the second competition…

After analyzing the results obtained throughout the week of testing, the jury has declared team VIKINGS the winner of the second competition of the ARGOS Challenge.

Check out the competition results and ranking

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