Page 50: of Marine Technology Magazine (March 2016)
Oceanographic Instrumentation: Measurement, Process & Analysis
-grating USV activities with larger ships when underway. sive suite of open integration and development tools. Gary
Launch is the easier part of the process but there is still the Gysin, President and CEO of Liquid Robotics, said, ‘We are issue of releasing the USV and pulling away from the suc- bringing the open systems, rapid innovation model of Silicon tion effect of the mother vessel. Recovery can result in dam- Valley to a maritime world of special purpose systems. Work- age from collision with the mother vessel. Potential solutions ing with our partners, we will create entirely new solutions for range from simple nets to sophisticated high tech capture sys- defense, commercial and scienti? c customers by opening up tems. Civilian roles include surveying, scienti? c research and access to the world of maritime systems.’ pollution response. The likelihood is that the oil and gas sector will lead the adoption of this technology. As this industry is Autonomous Vessels and the Ocean Environment highly regulated and risk adverse this will raise con? dence In November 2015 a brand new Marine Robotics Innova- for the wider maritime community. Port security is likely to tion Center was opened in Southampton UK. Run by the Na- expand the use of ? xed location CCTV and situational aware- tional Oceanography Center the center will be will be a hub ness technology to mobile unmanned platforms that can patrol for businesses and technologists developing autonomous plat- speci? c locations or cover large areas of a harbour on a 24/7 forms with novel sensors that will be used to cost-effectively basis in all weathers. Military roles include Intelligence Sur- capture data from the world’s oceans. veillance & Reconnaissance (ISR), target practice and mine One of the ? rst occupants is UK based company ASV (see hunting with a growing desire to explore all possibilities to related story on page 10), a leading provider of unmanned ves- keep personnel out of harm way. sels with more than seventy platforms in the ? eld globally and a wide variety of associated payloads. ASV designs, builds
Unmanned Boat Design and Systems Integration and operates a range of platforms for industrial, scienti? c and
The innovators of ? rst generation USVs tended to use exist- military applications worldwide.
ing ? oating platforms ranging from plastic kayaks to RHIBs to The ? rst use of an Autonomous Surface Vehicle (ASV) to accommodate bespoke electronics and controls in waterproof perform bathymetry for updating the U.S. nautical charts for housings. Once command, control and communication had NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration been proven the next generation of USV developers required Of? ce) occurred in the Alaskan Arctic in the summer of 2015. bespoke craft to demonstrate task speci? c applications. From Surveying alongside TerraSond’s mother-vessel, the ASV col- the naval architect and boat builders perspective there have lected data simultaneously on adjacent survey lines, effective- been opportunities to adapt proven craft and for new designs ly doubling the production rate. The ASV also surveyed by which have evolved into the USVs that are available today. itself in areas too shallow and dangerous for the larger vessel
COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) procurement is now driv- to work. Tom Newman, President of TerraSond, said, ‘This is ing many military and government decisions, therefore the a force-multiplier for data acquisition. Operated in a semi-au- objective will be to create standardised marine platforms that tonomous mode, unmanned but supervised, one person can re- can easily be adapted to carry modular technology payloads as place the three person crew it would normally take to operate a the vessels role changes. survey launch. It is de? nitely the future of sea? oor mapping.’
This may include switching vessels from unmanned to manned as the task requires. Unmanned Capability Enhances Naval Operations
As the industries of boat building and autonomous system Unmanned technology with the potential to change the face development are so different, it is proving essential to develop of naval operations within a decade has successfully been strategic alliances to enable cost effective systems integra- demonstrated for the ? rst time by BAE Systems in partner- tion. The industry recognises that a key enabler will be getting ship with ASV at a site near Portsmouth Naval Base. The new the systems architecture right from the start. A well designed system will allow crews to carry out vital tasks such as high open architecture will provide a ? exible and modular system speed reconnaissance and remote surveillance while keeping that can be expanded incrementally. sailors out of harm’s way. The technology is designed to be ? t-
U.S. based Liquid Robotics has a vision to instrument the ted to the RHIBs already used extensively by the Royal Navy. ocean with ? eets of networked, wave-powered ocean robots. The modi? ed boat is capable of operating autonomously for
Wave motion is greatest at the water’s surface, decreasing rap- up to 12 hours at a time, on either a pre-planned route or via idly with increasing depth. The Wave Glider’s unique two-part remote control. It can reach speeds in excess of 38 knots, pro- architecture exploits this difference in motion to provide for- viding unique ship-launched manoeuvrability and enhanced ward propulsion. Wave Gliders have spent over 15,000 days situational awareness to support the decision-making of its at sea with the longest mission covering over 9,000 nautical operators.
miles. The Liquid Robotics Open Oceans Partner Program is Underpinning the system’s ability to operate autonomously a global technology program designed to accelerate the cre- is its complex array of sensors, including a navigation radar, ation, integration and deployment of new technologies and 360 degree panoramic infrared camera array and laser range applications for unmanned ocean systems. Building upon the ? nder. Dan Hook, Managing Director of ASV, said, ‘The al-
Wave Glider, the world’s ? rst wave and solar powered ocean gorithms that we are developing with BAE Systems allow robot, this program offers participating partners a comprehen- the boat to perform complex missions and navigate through
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