“There is currently no surface robot designed to autonomously inspect or manage emergency situations on the Group's facilities. However, the potential benefits would be multiple in terms of operation safety and optimisation.

To address this gap, and because Total has always been driven by its pioneering spirit, our R&D launched the first robotics challenge in the oil and gas industry at the end of 2013, known as the ARGOS (Autonomous Robot for Gas & Oil Sites) Challenge. This innovative challenge proved fruitful and Total currently leads the market in the development and use of autonomous surface robotics applied to our complex environments.

This open innovation project, designed to simultaneously test five robotics solutions, reflects our willingness to keep a few steps ahead by identifying technological breakthroughs, sometimes in areas far removed from our core businesses, and to explore their potential. We have called upon the most skilled in the sector and selected five international teams to develop the first generation of ATEX* and autonomous surface robots capable of operating on Group sites.

After three years of research, design and programming, we are striving forwards on this technological adventure with the ARGONAUTS robot, winner of the ARGOS Challenge. A pilot is now being prepared at one of our industrial sites.

Moving beyond this R&D success, the integration of robotics in our Oil & Gas activities constitutes a complete disruption from our traditional operating methods. New procedures are being drafted that will revolutionise our skills and our practices. Let's rewrite the rules for future facilities!”

Daniel PLATHEY, Research and Development Vice-President of Total E&P

* Certification required to be sufficiently robust to operate in a potentially explosive atmosphere.