MacArtney tech for new Bibby HydroMap d’ROP subsea survey platform

slip ring
cable assembly
oil and gas

MacArtney Underwater Technology is delighted to have supplied a consignment of underwater technology products and systems to the new and innovative Bibby HydroMap dynamic Remotely Operated Platform (d’ROP). The MacArtney scope of supply included a Moog Focal type 176 slip ring (electrical and optical) for the appurtenant winch system and Moog-Focal fibre optic multiplexer boards, MacArtney OptoLink fibre optic connectors and several SubConn connectors and connectivity assemblies for interfacing various systems and sensors on board the d’ROP vehicle. According to Managing Director of MacArtney UK, David Buchan, “the combination of technical performance and track record, local support and cost effective solutions all combined to make MacArtney a logical choice of supplier for this important new project”.


The Bibby HydroMap d'ROP system


d’ROP in the ocean…

In recent years, with the expansion of offshore wind and cable interconnectors, there has been a significant increase in the requirements for cable depth of burial surveying in coastal areas, where compact ROVs struggle with the environmental conditions and where work-class ROVs add significant project expense. These challenges spawned the idea for the d’ROP which aimsto provide a compact, efficient and stable platform for remote survey in dynamic coastal environments.

The d’ROP is developed and operated by renowned subsea survey company Bibby HydroMap (UK) and built by Hydrobotics (UK). Thed’ROP borrows and combines proven principles and technology from existing ROVs, ROTVs along with methods from the modern day dredging industry. According to Bibby Hydromap, “the system is effectively a compact high powered work class ROV - but with all the expensive and complicated bits that are not needed for survey tasks stripped off”. In tune with this overall design philosophy, the d’ROP mostly depends on off-the-shelf components - such as the ones supplied by MacArtney - in order to ensure simplicity and reliability of operation along with easy maintenance. 

Versatility through connectivity 
Whilst the system was designed primarily for precision-tracking of buried cables and pipelines, the telemetry and connectivity components supplied by MacArtney allows the d’ROP to accept multiple sensors simultaneously, including multibeam echo sounders, magnetometers and sidescan sonars, with resultant data transmitted through a high-performance fibre optic connection. This flexibility opens up the potential applications of the system and makes it relevant to stakeholders from a wide range of industries. 

Bibby Athena
The d’ROP is initially designed for operation from the new semi-SWATHE research vessel, Bibby Athena- and will be deployed through the vessel moonpool. The d’ROP relies upon the support vessel for forward propulsion, a heave-compensated winch and combined LARS for its vertical control - while the on-board vehicle thrusters maintain heading and fine adjustments to the lateral position. This way, the d’ROP maintains a fixed heading and altitude in relation to a survey line, cable or pipeline with great control and stability when compared to traditional mid-size ROV systems. 


RV Bibby Athena