A £36 MILLION project is to develop robots to work in hazardous offshore environments.

Experts said it would limit the need for humans to work in dangerous places for the maintenance of offshore energy platforms.

The Offshore Robotics for Certification of Assets Hub (ORCA) involves Heriot-Watt University, the University of Edinburgh, Imperial College London, the University of Oxford and the University of Liverpool, as well as dozens of industry bodies.

It is to create “robot-assisted asset inspection and maintenance technologies that are capable of making autonomous and semi-autonomous decisions and interventions across aerial, topside and marine domains”.

Professor David Lane, director of the ORCA Hub, said the industry was facing challenges “as the new generation of graduates seek less hazardous onshore opportunities”.