The Drilling Systems Automation Roadmap

The Drilling Systems Automation Roadmap (DSA-R) initiative is a cross-industry effort launched in June 2013 to help accelerate the adoption of advancements in drilling systems automation for both onshore and offshore wells.

It is affiliated with leading oil industry and automation organizations:

  • Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) – Drilling Systems Automation Technical Section (DSATS)
  • International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) – Advanced Rig Technology (ART) Committee
  • Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI)


DSA -R’s primary objective is to provide a guideline to the future emergence of drilling systems automation across all aspects of this technology. A secondary objective is to inform non-oil and gas industry of the opportunities to support this technology development.

DSA Roadmap Organization Structure

The organization structure for the DSA Roadmap Cross Industry Initiative is designed to provide the greatest opportunity of success for a volunteer organization while including as broad a spectrum of participants from across various industry segments and academia as possible.

  • Leadership – Leadership is provided by a Program Manager and Deputy Program Manager.
  • Committee – The committee is formed of a range of competencies required to encompass the spectrum of expertise envisaged in the roadmapping initiative. These volunteers have been requested to develop the core of the program and lead development of various aspects of the roadmap. Participation in the committee is by invitation of the co-founders. Affiliated organizations will have at least one representative on the committee.
  • Key Challenge Development Teams – Key challenge development teams will enable a large cross section of participants to provide input into the work as it progresses. If you wish to volunteer to work on one of the Key Challenge Development Teams contact us.  Applicants will be categorized by their stated skill sets so committee members can select for a pertinent Challenge Development Team.  If selected, you will receive an e-mail from the relevant Challenge Development Team Leader; however, you will require SPE Membership to enter the SPE hosted domain and participate.
  • Advisors – The advisors will be specifically selected and invited into this role by the co-founders due to their significant standing and history in automation systems transformations. Their role is to provide ad hoc insight to the leadership to optimize the direction of the initiative and avoid pit falls.
  • Affiliates – multiple institutions are envisaged to become affiliates as a means to ensure a broad footprint of connectivity. The initial affiliated institutions are SPE (DSATS), IADC (ART) and AUVSI. Other institutions active in technologies relevant to drilling systems automation will be invited to become affiliated. Affiliates will be offered a seat on the committee to provide the linkage.


Drilling Systems Automation was recognized as a developing technology in 2008. SPE and IADC set up work groups to support the advancement of this technology; SPE DSATS focusing on initiatives to accelerate the introduction in areas of communication, interoperability and the like, IADC ART focusing on control philosophy, communications to surface equipment and the like.

In July 2012, an SPE Advanced Technology Workshop identified some actions to progress DSA to the “next big jump forward”; report is available onOnePetro . These included:

  • Need for a Drilling Systems Automation Vision
  • Need for a strategy
  • Need to coordinate across industries
  • Develop a catalyst for standardization

The conclusion was that a roadmap is the best means to define a way forward to progress these issues.