COMEX ORUS3D photogrammetry to survey polymetallic nodules on the seabed
The Marseille-based company COMEX performed last week pool trials with their 3D photogrammetry system “ORUS3D” to survey and cartography polymetallic nodules in the deep sea. Such metallic concretions, mainly composed of manganese, copper, nickel and cobalt, could be harvested through subsea mining technologies as a response to metal shortages in Europe and other regions.
Novel technologies to survey the abundance of these resources are needed to quantify deposits and to chart maps of subsea habitats that need to be protected from mining activity.
COMEX ORUS3D photogrammetry system was used to create a 3D model of an area with polymetallic nodules. Such model can help in the future to predict the amount of metal that could be harvested by subsea mining systems in a specific area. Future enhancements of ORUS3D will include an automatic classification of items on the seabed that could be used to draw an inventory of resources available in a certain region, as well as zones to be avoided (e.g. due to habitats to be protected or other underwater artefacts).
ORUS3D is a contactless and non-intrusive vision system. Mounted onto any type of ROV it can operate down to 6000msw. The COMEX’ system is used for inspection and vision measurements in the offshore oil&gas sector and to reconstruct underwater sites (such as archeological artefacts).
COMEX has participated in the development of subsea mining solutions in the past, such as the “FONASURF” mineral extraction system. FONASURF was developed under the leadership of TECHNIP and was funded by the French Concours Mondial d’Innovation.