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Maintaining offshore working conditions can be expensive for companies, inconvenient for employees, and higher-risk when it comes to health and safety. That’s why SMD’s pioneering engineers have created SMD Horizon (Horizon), an innovative new platform with the power to provide a better solution.

Most cabled subsea work vehicles still require the presence of an offshore team. With Horizon, the need for offshore pilots, co-pilots, supervisors and data analysts is significantly reduced. This is because Horizon’s cloud-based technology enables individuals to conduct their duties remotely. This innovative piece of equipment retrieves live data, connecting onshore stakeholders with offshore vehicles in real-time.

By facilitating a move into the cloud, this transformative piece of technology has the power to improve efficiencies by connecting teams remotely, enabling people to work from anywhere in the world. 

In a nutshell, Horizon facilitates: 

  • Pilots and co-pilots in different buildings, discussing missions with supervisors in other countries. 
  • Experts are no longer tied to one vessel, providing real-time data analysis and advising on multiple scenarios at once. 
  • Clients and fleet managers can track missions, view trends in data and detect issues early, tackling them before they occur.

Horizon can be accessed through a Remote Pilot Interface – a fully-featured and self-contained cyber chair, with integrated joysticks, touchscreen controls, and a generous 86″ display. Unobtrusive and adaptable, the cyber chair can be quickly installed anywhere, from the corner of an existing office to a dedicated control room. With user-configurable controls, the operator has the power to decide which functions they access. Supplied as self-contained modules, these controls are effortlessly interchangeable, giving rise to different joystick types. The Remote Pilot Interface can even be supplied separately, functioning as a standalone interface for third party systems.

Horizon’s web-based interface ensures that even without the cyber chair, operators can access the latest data on the go, with a laptop, tablet or smartphone on a standard internet browser.

As explained by Innovation Director Mark Collins: “At SMD, we are incredibly excited about the opportunities that Horizon opens for our customers. As long-standing experts in subsea engineering and technology, we have developed an excellent understanding of the industry’s challenges and have a proven track record for creating effective solutions. 

“Once launched, our newly developed Horizon technology is set to take off and completely revolutionise the sector. Adaptable in its design, Horizon can be tailored to meet the requirements of each individual user, endlessly changed to keep up with the complexity of our customers’ ever-changing business needs. 

“SMD will also be offering remote access to the Sentio simulated environment via our Horizon solution. In this way, we will support pilots of all abilities with their learning, from those just starting out, to those looking to practise complex manoeuvres – all without running the risk of mistakes causing real damage.”

As well as improving efficiency, Horizon will have an invaluable impact on employee wellbeing. Within the marine industry, many people retire early in order to prioritise a healthy work-life balance, but antisocial shift patterns could become a thing of the past, with pilots spread across different time zones. 

Having recently concluded first stage prototyping of Horizon’s development, the full system is due to be available for pre-order by Christmas 2023.

To find out more about this exciting new offering, contact Mark Collins, Innovation Director at SMD.


Mark Collins, Innovation Director