MTR 100: Hydroid

Posted by Irina Tabakina

Part of Kongsberg Maritime’s AUV Group, Hydroid is a trusted manufacturer of advanced Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs). REMUS AUVs provide innovative and reliable full-picture systems for the marine research, defense, hydrographic and commercial offshore/energy markets. REMUS vehicles are advanced, diversified and field-proven; combat-proven in continuous operation with the U.S. Navy.

The Company

Historically, the sheer magnitude of the ocean has made comprehensive exploration unfeasible. Hydroid is changing that with its full-picture REMUS AUVs. These unmanned underwater robots offer a flexible alternative to surface vessels. They can glide along the surface, dive to deep depths, explore shallow waters or hover in hazardous areas where navigation is difficult. Hydroid AUVs have reduced the high costs of ocean exploration and sampling while increasing the availability, quality and quantity of scientific marine data. Using Hydroid AUVs for undersea mine reconnaissance has helped save lives by eliminating human divers from mine fields, and the customizable robots have helped solve plane and ship disaster mysteries. Hydroid AUVs also provide scientists data on pressing global issues including climate change, the world’s declining fish population and environmental disasters. As leader of the team that originally developed the REMUS AUV at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Hydroid founder Christopher von Alt’s knowledge of the intricate technology has been integral to the products’ development and widespread adoption. After years of fabricating and developing the REMUS vehicle at WHOI, in 2001 von Alt co-founded Hydroid, creating an independent company to commercially manufacture, support and further develop the REMUS systems. In 2008 Hydroid was acquired by the Norwegian technology conglomerate Kongsberg Gruppen. Now, a subsidiary of Kongsberg Maritime, Hydroid is recognized as a leader in the maritime industry.

The Tech

The REMUS AUV is the culmination of 16 years of leading-edge R&D and boasts a proven track record for highly reliable and consistent field operations. REMUS AUVs are offered in three vehicle classes: The man-portable REMUS 100 (depth rated to 100m); the highly versatile, modular REMUS 600 (depth rated to 600m or 1500m); and the REMUS 6000 (depth rated to 6000M), a deep-water workhorse. All REMUS AUVs are built on a common technology base incorporating the intuitive vehicle interface program (VIP); this keeps vehicle maintenance, mission planning, checkout, data analysis and cross-vehicle training seamless across the model line. The vehicles differ by size, endurance and payload sensor configurations. The vehicles can be equipped with many different instruments, depending on the model and the intended use. This includes advanced GPS-aided inertial navigation; Doppler velocity log; acoustic fish trackers; varying sensors; nitrate and nutrient analyzers; conductivity and temperature monitors; radiometers; side scan sonar; bathymetry; bottom-mapping, echo sounder, forward-looking sonar; video camera module; turbidity sensors; and electronic still camera with strobe and magnetometers.
All vehicles incorporate embedded software. Hydroid’s R&D efforts have focused on enabling AUVs to operate multiple payload sensors simultaneously, enabling the real advantage AUVs offer over traditional survey methods.
Testing Capabilities: The new facility will feature a testing tank and pressurized water chamber. The tanks are used for ballasting vehicles and ensuring that the systems are ready for at-sea testing. Hydroid also utilizes two boats for testing. The larger boat is equipped with a launch system.

(As published in the July/Aug 2014 edition of Marine Technology Reporter -

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