The FlatFish has been researched and developed since 2013 by Senai Cimatec, DFKI, BG Group, and Shell. In March 2018 Shell agreed to allow Saipem to fund the development and bring the underwater drone to market.
The FlatFish is a 12ft long, 3-ton, battery-powered, artificial intelligent drone and can go 10,000 ft underwater, to carry out inspections on equipment for as long as a year. To assist with the inspections the drone will feature laser-line projectors, sonars, and cameras.
Saipem estimate that The FlatFish will cut platforms maintenance costs in half when it is fully developed and in use, this will be an exciting step forward for the industry in helping to prevent oil spills and other issues underwater.