Virtual Reality (VR) offers the opportunity to be transported to remote locations that would be otherwise near impossible to visit. When GE wanted to showcase its new subsea factory it turned to virtual reality technology.
GE Brazil Technology Centre
Energy companies are exploring the possibilities of placing oil and gas processing plants on the seabed. Because these environments are inhospitable to humans they will be serviced by robots and remotely controlled vehicles.
In 2014 GE opened its Brazil Technology Centre in Rio de Janeiro. This half a billion dollar research hub is developing technology for offshore oil and gas production and exploration. The Technology Centre is focused on problems such as how to drill 40,000 feet deep wells more than 100 miles offshore and 10,000 feet below sea level.
An example of the challenges faced is the Espirto Santo basin which is approximately 100 miles off the coast of Brazil. Norway Statoil has been awarded a licence to develop the oil and gas resources underwater. These are located at up to 3000m below the water surface. Cost effectively developing these types of wells will require the kind of subsea factories that GE’s technology Centre is showcasing.
Using VR to Visit the Ocean’s Floor
Using VR technology visitors to the Brazil technology Centre will be able to go on immersive journey to one of the subsea factories. The VR experience uses the Oculus Rift headset. During the VR experience the user takes the position of pilot on a virtual nautilus one submersible vessel. Being transported on the submersible the user visits the subsea factory. Users can gain a better understanding of exactly how the subsea factory works and directs petroleum to the oil platform above.
The experience demonstrates how VR technology can be used to better communicate high-tech projects inhospitable locations.