Congratulations to the team of students from NTNU in Trondheim as the winning team in this year’s Group B competition. Led by Magnus Steinstø, the team also consists of Benedicte Gjersdal, Gaute Hånsnar, and Trygve Mikal Viga Skretting. Professor Alexey Pavlov is their faculty advisor.
Last fall, 20 teams registered to compete in Group B to design, build, and operate a mini-rig to drill a directional well through two downhole targets. The targets were provided as the Phase II test began. Teams entered the target coordinates into their drilling system, and their software autonomously created a well plan. Using downhole sensors and closed loop control, they drilled the well as efficiently and as accurately as possible.
NTNU demonstrated an understanding of rig design, drillstring dynamics and the physics of directional drilling. They also designed their own bit, BHA and downhole measurement sub. The Drillbotics challenge committee is looking forward to seeing even further advancements made to the autonomous steering and directional drilling decision-making systems in future competitions.
This year marks the return to physically testing the student’s creations. Last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Drillbotics was forced to cancel the year-end tests. Unfortunately, due to continued pandemic-related issues such as limited access to university labs and workshops, restrictions on team face-to-face meetings, supply chain delays, and other issues, many teams were forced to withdraw over several months leading up to the competition date. Ultimately, only NTNU was able to demonstrate an operational drilling rig, but their performance still exceeded most of the judges’ expectations. The judging committee also had the opportunity to view presentations from the University of Stavanger and Clausthal University of Technology, followed by Q&A sessions to learn more about the teams’ efforts and successes (as well as their learnings) during the project.
So, to the teams who completed their design, and who built all or most of their drilling systems, we wish to congratulate all of you for your considerable hard work in the middle of very challenging conditions.
The Group A competition will conclude with a test on 28 June. Good luck to everyone.