Welcome to underwater robotics news

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 2011

Chesapeake Technology Announces
Seabed Classification Capability

The latest enhancement to SonarWiz 5 sonar mapping software generates sea floor classification maps in minutes from existing sonar data.

Mountain View, CA, February 18, 2011 – Chesapeake Technology, Inc. (CTI), the innovation leaders in sonar data acquisition and processing software, just announced the addition of seabed classification to their flagship SonarWiz 5 product. The new functionality offers a fast and easy way to classify sea floor sediment, such as gravel and sand, for use in a wide range of sonar mapping missions including habitat studies, dredging projects, pipe and cable laying projects, and at-sea platform construction.

For the military, for example, it is extremely important to know the bottom types that will allow mines or underwater improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to be buried easily and therefore hidden from side scanning sonar. The classification map will enable military planners to select a route that avoids areas where mines and IEDs might be difficult to detect.

"As with many of our product enhancements, the idea for this originally came from our customers, and we're pleased to be able to now accommodate their requests," commented John Gann, Chesapeake founder and CTO. "It also will generate a collection of polygons in GIS and CAD compatible formats that enables our users to integrate the classification outputs with other seabed maps and products, a feature that I think our customers will particularly appreciate."

The SonarWiz seabed classification generates a color-coded map where each color represents a class of seafloor material or aggregate (sample output). The classification map also can be combined with ground-truthing to extrapolate the survey results over a wide area, reducing the amount of bottom sampling required.

"We've been using the new seabed classification feature for several months now," said Dr. Arthur Trembanis from the University of Delaware. "We've been impressed with how quickly SonarWiz 5 generates the classification maps and how easy this feature is to use. It's been a great asset for our benthic habitat mapping efforts in support of various offshore marine spatial planning projects."

All SonarWiz 5 users receive this enhancement for free as part of their Chesapeake software maintenance agreement. Any users of earlier CTI applications who choose to upgrade to SonarWiz 5 also will receive this new capability.

About Chesapeake Technology, Inc.
Chesapeake Technology, Inc. (CTI) has been offering sonar mapping software, custom solutions, and thought-leading consulting services to the marine geophysical and geological survey industry for over 20 years. CTI's SonarWiz 5 provides real-time sonar data acquisition and processing software for side scan and sub-bottom sonar systems being used by hundreds of clients worldwide, including most of the world's navies, NOAA, USGS, Fugro, C&C Technologies and leading academic institutions worldwide. CTI is privately owned and located in Mountain View, CA.
Media Contact: Product Sales
Eileen Gann Chris Roper
+1 650.967.2045 805 798 0277
etgann@chesapeaketech.com Chris@RoperResources.com
www.chesapeaketech.com www.RoperResources.com

The CONTROS HydroC CO2 sucessful in act test

Contros

The Alliance for Coastal Technologies (ACT), supported by NOAA, conducted a field performance demonstration and evaluation from August to November 2009. ACT's unbiased, third party evaluation focused on the accuracy, precision and reliability of commercial in-situ pCO2 instruments such as the CONTROS HydroCTM/ CO2. Tests were conducted at sites with significant variation in pCO2 (daily and weekly cycles) and the systems have been compared against well-chosen reference systems.


Reference systems:
1. Flow- through pCO2 Analyzer (LICOR LI840/ membrane contactor equilibrator)
2. Discrete water sampling (pH and total alkalinity calculated to pCO2 with CO2Sys/ Pierrot)

Results of HydroCTM/ CO2:
•The systems tested functioned continuously throughout the month long test period
•The systems acquired 100 % of the data expected
•The systems collected 10 times the data of the reference systems
•Biofouling did not affect performance during the duration of the test
The mean difference (HydroCTM - Reference) is within the given uncertainty interval given by the uncertainties of the instrument and the reference systems.
•The time-series provided by the HydroCTM/ CO2 revealed diel patterns in CO2 and captured a significantly greater dynamic range and temporal resolution then could be obtained from discrete reference samples.

Conclusions:
As a result of this performance test CONTROS has increased the quality standards for built- in NDIR sensors (e.g. stability, drift, cross sensitivity).

•Analytical filters will be included into the internal gas stream to prevent dust, dirt or any other reversible contamination.
•Update of the algorithms for the NDIR data processing to be implemented.

ALLIANCE FOR COASTAL TECHNOLOGIES
The full report is available at: http://www.act-us.info/evaluation_reports.php
Roper Resources Ltd Tel: (805) 798 0277 Chris@RoperResources.com


ULS-100 Integrated with the SeaTrepid Rope Crawler -10/09/07

Implications of Damage

The implications of not detecting and measuring the damage to an offshore platform is significant. The major hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico in 2005 demonstrated the importance of a well designed mooring system. However, degradation of any system as a result of exposure to the elements will have an impact on even the best designs. In order to ensure the adequacy of the mooring systems while at the same time not performing unnecessary maintenance, a complete understanding of the status of these systems is required.

 

Damaged Mooring Line Laser Scanner

Offshore Platform Mooring Line Scan

Novel Inspection Solution

To inspect offshore platform mooring lines, SeaTrepid has designed a novel vehicle that attaches to these lines and drives up and down the line. In addition to visual inspection with an array of video cameras, the vehicle has been designed to incorporate the 2G Robotics ULS-100. Integration of this sensor with the vehicle was successfully completed in advance of offshore trials. SeaTrepid selected the ULS-100 for integration with their specialized vehicle because of its high precision measurement capability. When defects such as abrasions and cuts in the rope are located, the ULS-100 is capable of very accurately measuring these defects. Given this data, a complete understanding of the rope is realized, allowing for a more optimal determination of the appropriate corrective action.

 

Seatrepid Rope Crawler ULS-100 integration

ULS-100 Attatch\ed to the Rope Crawler


New Product Spotlight -10/05/2010

Subsea Asset Location Technologies Ltd

Salt
The Company

Subsea Asset Location Technologies (SALT)Ltd is a ‘spin out’ company from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) the research agency of the UK MoD. The company was formed in February 2008 to exploit the commercial demand for the passive acoustic sonar reflector technology developed by Dstl. The SonarBell is commercially available and allows the user to mark underwater equipment to ease relocation. It can be designed to operate with most sonar systems and has a unique calibration and frequency response.

The Product

Having spent many years contributing to military requirements to reduce underwater sonar signatures, the scientists at Dstl turned their knowledge of this area on its head to develop a passive device that was “as loud as possible” when exposed to an incoming signal.
The resulting Intellectual Property led to the development of the SonarBell reflector. In simple terms, the device acts as a lens focusing, and then reflecting back, the highest possible sound signature. In many ways it acts in a similar fashion to a cat’s eye reflecting back the light from a car headlight only using sound.


Although “solid state” with no moving parts or power requirements the device is compatible with existing commercial sonar sets and the first product range is already suitable for many applications.

Salt General Defence Leaflet
Salt Mine Marking System (SUMMS) Leaflet
Salt Special Operations System (SPATS) Leaflet
Salt Entry, Exit and Recovery System (SEEARS)
Salt Equipment Tracking System (SETS) Leaflet
SALT_Flyer2010rr.pdf
Salt_Sonarbell_world_pipelines_article_2010.pdf
Salt Offshore-Article2010-5rr.pdf
Salt DMJ-Advert-10rr.pdf
Salt generalleaflet-rr.pdf
Salt Offshore-Article-rr.pdf
Salt sonarbell_world_pipelines_article-rr.pdf
Salt swimmerdetection-rr.pdf

Applications:

  • Commercial marking - pipeline, telecoms
  • ROV/AUV intervention, pilot orientation


Military:

  • Mine locations
  • Safe passage marking
  • Hydrography/ oceanology
  • Family of units Larger units for surface ship/ multi-beam
  • Designed to work with all sonars
  • Individual calibration

New Product Spotlight: WFS seatooth through water and through ground radio modem

Seatext® is the world’s first commercial through water and through-ground radio communication system, designed to interface with sensors and control units.

Seatext®
can be readily tailored to numerous
applications: e.g. environmental monitoring of rivers, lakes estuaries and landfill sites, oceanographic monitoring, process control and communications in underground mines, culverts, and water/wastewater networks.

crosses water

CROSSES WATER / AIR INTERFACE

Allows unobtrusive and seamless transmission through water and through ground, removing the need for cables or repeater buoys. In addition the Seatext® does not need line of sight to transmit, is covert and poses no hazard to navigation.

Pentetrates Ice
Effectively allows for two way transmission of data through rock and soil. Removes the need for vulnerable cabling while allowing for greater freedom to staff underground. Could be exploited in underground tunnels used by transport links such as metro systems to support communications infrastructures.

Clean Interfence Free Transmission
Seatext® operates without interfering with acoustic sensors or sonars and can be used without the ill effects to aquatic life often attributed to acoustic technology.

Effective in Complex Environments

 

Unlike acoustic systems, WFS’s radio Technology is unaffected by acoustic noise, turbidity, mud or ice and will operate in shallow water as well as congested environments such as harbours,estuaries and waterways.

SAAB SEAEYE Sabertooth: New AUV from SAAB Seaeye!

-03-22-2010

Saab Seaeye Sabertooth AUV/ROV

THE DEEP WATER HYBRID AUV/ROV
THE SEAEYE SABERTOOTH is a merger of the Double Eagle SAROV™ (Saab Autonomous
Remotely Operated Vehicles) and Saab Seaeye technologies, resulting in a hovering hybrid
AUV/ROV with deep water capability, long excursion range and 360° manoeuvrability with
6 degrees of freedom.
Sabertooth is ideal for autonomous inspection and maintenance of subsea installations, and
offshore survey work.
• Operational depth of 3000 msw
• Battery power allowing long range operations, with either full operator control via a thin fibre
optic tether or autonomous operation (with operator control in proximity of targets)
• Full AUV functionality with obstacle avoidance, behaviour based control and underwater
docking capability
• Redundant fault tolerant control system
• Non-invasive self-diagnostics
• Advanced autopilots: heading, depth, pitch, roll, stabilisation, altitude, station keeping,
vector transition, obstacle avoidance and sonar target tracking
• Remote internet interface for base and Seaeye technical support

NEW COUGAR XTI LAUNCHED AT OCEANOLOGY INTERNATIONAL

-03-22-2010

Dual-role, deep water ROV opens new markets

A greater range of deep water applications is now possible with a new dual-role, 3000 metre-rated ROV from world leader Saab Seaeye.

Pioneering technology in the new Cougar XTi electric ROV means the vehicle can go deeper, has a smaller launch system, a thinner umbilical, clearer interface, smarter fault diagnostics, easier configuration and tighter piloting.

Managing director, Dave Grant sees the innovative new vehicle opening up a whole new market for the concept of a combined inspection and light work-ROV.

Cougar XTi - easy to reconfigure for different operational roles. “Operating to 3000m depth, the Cougar XTi can perform tasks independently, or in support of a construction class hydraulic ROV.”

He says it also brings important cost savings in deck space with a compact, single skid solution for the launch and recovery system (LARS).

Shrinking the LARS came from a breakthrough by Saab Seaeye engineers who managed to reduce the umbilical
from a typical 32mm down to 20mm.
The thinner umbilical not only significantly reduces the winch drum size, but offers considerably less drag in the water in strong currents.

They achieved the reduction by boosting the voltage from 500V to 3000V with only one power line, rather than two, needed to feed the system.

The 800Hz high frequency power distribution system also cuts the size of the ROV’s on-board transformer by 80% and improves the vehicle’s power to weight ratio giving an 80 kg payload at 3000m.

Pilot-friendly fault management

Other innovations include a simplified man/machine interface (MMI) for easier control. It also keeps the pilot in touch with the health of the ROV and warns of potential problems.

Smart fault diagnostics gives the pilot a clear interpretation of a fault and the remedial action to be taken, including the ability to remotely isolate the failed component and keep the ROV working.

Each on board device – thrusters, lights, tools etc – is managed through an intelligent three mode distributed plug and go control system. The first mode controls the device; the second provides the diagnostics; and the third is used to channel software updates.

It is a software-driven concept that makes it quick and easy to reconfigure the vehicle for different operational roles, and changing task-specific tooling skids.

These tooling options can include manipulator packages, anvil and disc cutters, water-jetting equipment, torque tools, survey packages with camera booms, drill support and IRM tooling.

The Cougar XTi also has a new autopilot system that gives the operator more precise positioning of the vehicle by automatically holding depth and heading in much tighter parameters than ever before.

Fingertip manoeuvrability in every direction is achieved with six powerful brushless DC thrusters that give velocity feedback for precise and predictable control.

The Cougar XTi is a major upgrade of the long proven Cougar concept and includes breakthrough technology from Saab Seaeye’s flagship Jaguar electric work-ROV, along with systems developed by its parent company Saab Underwater Systems for military ROV applications.

By expanding the ROV market with this innovative new concept, Saab Seaeye continues to lead the way in technological development and extend its lead status as the world’s largest and most respected manufacturer of electrically operated ROVs. Parent, Saab Underwater Systems is itself a world leader in sensor systems, precision engagement systems, and remotely operated and autonomous underwater vehicles.

CEOE signs agreement with offshore survey company UTEC

CEOE agreement

8:12 a.m., March 10, 2010----The University of Delaware's College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE) and offshore survey company UTEC Survey have signed an agreement that outlines cooperative efforts in autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) research.

Signing the agreement between the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment and UTEC Survey were, from left, Art Trembanis, CEOE Dean Nancy Targett and Trevor Hughes, director of sales and marketing for UTEC. They are pictured with the autonomous underwater vehicle Dora.
Signing the two-year agreement at the University's Newark campus were Trembanis, CEOE Dean Nancy Targett, and Trevor Hughes, UTEC's director of sales and marketing.Art Trembanis, assistant professor of geological sciences, said that he and his team will provide the company with training and use of UD's AUV, a torpedo-shaped device that swims untethered through the water collecting data. The device will assist with UTEC's efforts to map the ocean floor in support of a range of projects around the world.

“We are devoted to developing the next generation of ocean research tools, and this opportunity to extend our technological expertise to members of industry is a great testament to the strength of that work,” Targett said.

UTEC is one of the world's fastest growing offshore survey companies. Its U.S. office is located in Houston, but the company also has regional offices in the U.K. (Aberdeen), Australia (Perth) and Southeast Asia. It provides a range of services such as site surveys and geohazard assessments to energy, telecommunication, construction and renewables industries.

“The ability to utilize this existing robust platform to perform detailed surveys, coupled with the additional sensors UTEC will add to the existing platform capability will significantly enhance the group's capabilities to provide a highly portable AUV system on a global basis,” Hughes said.

“Its a real win-win,” Trembanis added. “For us, our students and staff get a connection to a thriving industry. It also means exposure to cutting-edge projects in a variety of fields, some very valuable experiences for students, and revenue to build up our AUV.”

This week, graduate student Adam Skarke traveled with the device to London for the Oceanology International meeting, where he is serving as UD's liaison in the partnership's initiation.

Known more affectionately as Dora (short for Delaware Oceanographic Research Autonomous underwater vehicle), the AUV is approximately 9 feet long and weighs about 176 pounds. It uses sonar sensors and other gauges to gather all types of vital information such as acoustic “pictures” and water quality data such as salinity and temperature.

The beauty of Dora, Trembanis said, is a design that lets researchers swap out its sensor modules depending on the kind of data they want to collect.

“A lot of AUVs are already doing survey applications in deep waters, but they are school bus sized,” Trembanis said. “We're talking about a completely different approach, a very small, modular device that can go anywhere in the world and can operate in very shallow waters.”

Thanks to all those useful characteristics, Dora is shaping up to be a very busy AUV.

Since its acquisition in 2008, Dora has been used to study everything from coral reefs off the Caribbean island of Bonaire to underwater habitats in Delaware Bay. Undergraduates studying abroad in New Zealand during the 2010 Winter Session helped deploy it on missions studying algal blooms, and high school students in CEOE's TIDE Camp last summer launched it in Delaware Bay to study the seafloor.

Trembanis explained that partnerships like the one with UTEC not only contribute to Dora's success, but also to the goals of the university.

“These partnerships really relate to the Path to ProminenceTM in that we're developing alliances between industry and academia, and leveraging the resources they have with the ideas and ingenuity that we have,” Trembanis said. “It's really exciting stuff.”

Article by Elizabeth Boyle
Photo by Lisa Tossey

 

New Product Spotlight! Inuktun Spectrum 120, 120 HD and 150 HD cameras

Inuktun Spectrum

Spectrum 120 HD™

The Spectrum 120HD pan, tilt and zoom camera provides crystal clear video in air or underwater. It packs a High Definition (HD), 2MP imager (1080i resolution) with 120x zoom in a robust package only 4.75in / 120mm diameter.

The standard camera includes marine-grade aluminum parts and built-in, high intensity LED lights.

NEW COUGAR XTI LAUNCHED AT OCEANOLOGY INTERNATIONAL

Dual-role, deep water ROV opens new markets

A greater range of deep water applications is now possible with a new dual-role, 3000 metre-rated ROV from world leader Saab Seaeye.

Pioneering technology in the new Cougar XTi electric ROV means the vehicle can go deeper, has a smaller launch system, a thinner umbilical, clearer interface, smarter fault diagnostics, easier configuration and tighter piloting.

Managing director, Dave Grant sees the innovative new vehicle opening up a whole new market for the concept of a combined inspection and light work-ROV.

SAAB Seaeye Cougar XTi

Cougar XTi - easy to reconfigure for different operational roles.
"Operating to 3000m depth, the Cougar XTi can perform tasks independently, or in support of a construction class hydraulic ROV."

He says it also brings important cost savings in deck space with a compact, single skid solution for the launch and recovery system (LARS).

Shrinking the LARS came from a breakthrough by Saab Seaeye engineers who managed to reduce the umbilical from a typical 32mm down to 20mm. The thinner umbilical not only significantly reduces the winch drum size, but offers considerably less drag in the water in strong currents.

They achieved the reduction by boosting the voltage from 500V to 3000V with only one power line, rather than two, needed to feed the system.

The 800Hz high frequency power distribution system also cuts the size of the ROV's on-board transformer by 80% and improves the vehicle's power to weight ratio giving an 80 kg payload at 3000m.

Pilot-friendly fault management

Other innovations include a simplified man/machine interface (MMI) for easier control. It also keeps the pilot in touch with the health of the ROV and warns of potential problems.

Smart fault diagnostics gives the pilot a clear interpretation of a fault and the remedial action to be taken, including the ability to remotely isolate the failed component and keep the ROV working.

Each on board device - thrusters, lights, tools etc - is managed through an intelligent three mode distributed plug and go control system. The first mode controls the device; the second provides the diagnostics; and the third is used to channel software updates.

It is a software-driven concept that makes it quick and easy to reconfigure the vehicle for different operational roles, and changing task-specific tooling skids.

These tooling options can include manipulator packages, anvil and disc cutters, water-jetting equipment, torque tools, survey packages with camera booms, drill support and IRM tooling.

The Cougar XTi also has a new autopilot system that gives the operator more precise positioning of the vehicle by automatically holding depth and heading in much tighter parameters than ever before.

Fingertip manoeuvrability in every direction is achieved with six powerful brushless DC thrusters that give velocity feedback for precise and predictable control.

The Cougar XTi is a major upgrade of the long proven Cougar concept and includes breakthrough technology from Saab Seaeye's flagship Jaguar electric work-ROV, along with systems developed by its parent company Saab Underwater Systems for military ROV applications.

By expanding the ROV market with this innovative new concept, Saab Seaeye continues to lead the way in technological development and extend its lead status as the world's largest and most respected manufacturer of electrically operated ROVs. Parent, Saab Underwater Systems is itself a world leader in sensor systems, precision engagement systems, and remotely operated and autonomous underwater vehicles.

For more information contact:
Chris Roper
Roper Resources Ltd.
Tel: (805) 798 0277

Chris@RoperResources.com

Solar Powered AUV

Image: Solar-powered Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (SAUV)

A new solar-powered underwater robot technology developed for undersea observation and water monitoring will be showcased at a Sept. 16 workshop on leading-edge robotics to be held at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Arlington, Va.

Arthur C. Sanderson, professor of electrical, computer, and systems engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, will display the robotic technology being developed by a team of research groups, including Rensselaer, and led by the Autonomous Undersea Systems Institute directed by D. Richard Blidberg.
Sanderson also will participate on a panel of six robotics experts who recently completed a study to be released at the Sept. 16 workshop. The World Technology Evaluation Center International Study of Robotics is a two-year look at robotics research and development in the United States, Japan, Korea, and Western Europe.
As the principal investigator of an NSF-funded project called RiverNet, Sanderson is working collaboratively with other researchers to develop a network of distributed sensing devices and water-monitoring robots, including the first solar-powered autonomous underwater vehicles (SAUVs).
“Once fully realized, this underwater robot technology will allow better observation and monitoring of complex aquatic systems, and will support advances in basic environmental science as well as applications to environmental management and security and defense programs,” said Sanderson.
The SAUV technology allows underwater robots to be deployed long-term by using solar power to replenish onboard energy. Long-term deployment of SAUVs will allow detection of chemical and biological trends in lakes, rivers, and waterways that may guide the management and improvement of water quality. Autonomous underwater vehicles equipped with sensors are currently used for water monitoring, but must be taken out of the water frequently to recharge the batteries.
According to Sanderson, the SAUVs communicate and network with one another in real time to assess a water body as a whole in measuring how it changes over space and time. Key technologies used in SAUVs include integrated sensor microsystems, pervasive computing, wireless communications, and sensor mobility with robotics. Sanderson notes that the underwater vehicles have captured the attention of the U.S. Navy, which will evaluate their use for coastal surveillance applications.
The SAUV weighs 370 pounds, travels at speeds of up to 2 miles per hour, and is designed to dive to depths of 500 meters.
Sanderson and his colleagues will continue field testing the vehicles in coming months at locations including Rensselaer’s Darrin Fresh Water Institute on Lake George, N.Y., to determine communication, interaction, and maneuvering capabilities in testing dissolved oxygen levels, one of the most important indicators of water quality for aquatic life.
Sanderson is collaborating on SAUV development with the Autonomous Undersea Systems Institute, Falmouth Scientific Inc., the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, and Technology Systems Inc.


The Sept. 16 workshop is sponsored by NSF, NASA, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The international robotics study was organized by the World Technology Evaluation Center, a United States-based organization conducting international research assessments.
“This gathering of researchers and their robots shows the necessity of federal support for basic research that leads to new technologies with useful applications in health care, the environment, and industry,” said Sanderson.


-Source: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

ROV Jason Images the Discovery of the Deepest Explosive Eruption on the Sea Floor

ROV Jason Images the Discovery of the Deepest Explosive Eruption on the Sea Floor May 2009 Oceanographers using the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Jason discovered and recorded the first video and still images of a deep-sea volcano actively erupting molten lava on the seafloor. Jason, designed and operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution for the National Deep Submergence Facility, utilized a prototype, high-definition still and video camera to capture the powerful event nearly 4,000 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, in an area bounded by Fiji, Tonga and Samoa.

» Read the WHOI news releaseWest Mata Eruption, 2009 (Clip 1) (Courtesy NSF, NOAA, and WHOI Advanced Imaging and Visualization Lab) » View Video (Quicktime) West Mata Eruption, 2009 (Clip 2) Courtesy NSF, NOAA, and WHOI Advanced Imaging and Visualization Lab » View Video (Quicktime)  

Jason Underwater Eruption

Underwater Bot Roams the Seas: Spray is launched from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution vessel.

Spray Glider


Oceangoing underwater robots are the new fish in the sea scientists are using to explore Earth's final frontier. The water bots are gathering data that could provide valuable insights into climate change and other environmental concerns.


Spray, one of these new autonomous underwater vehicles, or AUVs, left Bermuda in late March. It will head to New England to explore the Gulf Stream in the North Atlantic before returning to Bermuda sometime in July. The voyage will be the first long-distance round-trip mission undertaken by the 6-foot-long craft.


Looking like an orange torpedo with stubby wings, Spray contains no moving parts. It can run silently at 3,300 feet underwater taking temperature, salinity and biomass measurements.
"It's an underwater glider that moves up and down the water column," said Breck Owens, a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Last year Spray was the first AUV to cross the Gulf Stream from Bermuda to New England, a one-way trip.


For the mission currently underway, Spray's main purpose is to get the first 3,000-foot-deep temperature and salinity measurements in the Gulf Stream and the North Atlantic thermohaline current, which are key drivers in the climate of the Northern Hemisphere. Spray's data will help determine if the massive amount of ice melting in the Arctic region is affecting these currents. Slowing of the thermohaline current has been linked to abrupt climate change.


Researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography are taking similar measurements in another vehicle in the South Pacific to help predict El Niño events, Owens said. Yet another AUV will explore under the Arctic ice, and Owens believes others could be used in fisheries management to determine nutrient levels for fish in the waters at various depths.


Spray moves by altering its buoyancy. To descend, Spray uses a hydraulic pump to move 4 cups of mineral oil from a bladder outside the pressurized hull into one on the inside. The oil's shift decreases the glider's volume, making it denser than surrounding water and causing it to glide downward. The reverse increases the vessel's buoyancy, and it rises.


To control Spray's pitch, or angle of ascent or descent, the 26-pound lithium battery pack, the craft's sole energy source, shifts to tilt the weight within the vehicle.
"It operates like a hang glider, with the battery pack taking the place of a person," Owens said.
Spray uses very little energy as it leisurely descends to 3,300 feet and ascends to the surface three times a day, covering roughly 12 miles. It stays on the surface for 15 minutes to take a GPS reading and to phone home through the Iridium satellite phone network to relay its location and the data collected.


While on the surface, Spray also receives e-mail messages from Owens for course adjustments to avoid rip currents or other obstacles. Storms pose little problem underwater, but strong currents are a major challenge for the 112-pound glider.


"It's like swimming in a rip current. You have (to) swim perpendicular to the current," Owens said.
Spray is smart enough to calculate its location and direction when pushed along by currents underwater using dead reckoning, according to Owens.


However, fishing nets can pose a problem. And surface vessels have created difficulties. Last year another Spray -- there are several versions in use -- operated by Scripps was run over by a boat when it surfaced off the coast. According to Owens, the half-inch aluminum hull was split and a wing was torn off.


Five years from now, Owens expects there will be hundreds if not thousands of similar underwater robots going where no one has gone before. One reason is that Spray is relatively low-cost at $70,000. And Spray can travel up to 3,500 miles on its batteries, enough for a voyage next year that Owens' research team is planning which will take the craft from Greenland to Spain.
"Oceanographers are starved for data," Owens said. "We're trying to build Model Ts here, not space shuttles."

NOAA evaluating use of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles for use on coastal survey: octobre, 2009

Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV), also known as unmanned underwater vehicles, can be used to perform underwater survey missions such as detecting and mapping submerged wrecks, rocks, and obstructions that pose a hazard to navigation for commercial and recreational vessels. The AUV conducts its survey mission without operator intervention. When a mission is complete, the AUV will return to a pre-programmed location and the data collected can be downloaded and processed in the same way as data collected by shipboard systems.

AUVs can be equipped with a wide variety of oceanographic sensors or sonar systems. NOAA’s hydrographic survey AUVs are typically equipped with side scan sonar, Conductivity-Temperature-Depth (CTD) sensors, GPS-aided Inertial Navigation Systems (INS), and an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP).

Currently, NOAA’s Coast Survey Development Lab is evaluating the use of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) as tools for hydrographic surveying in support of NOAA’s nautical charting mission. The use of AUVs, in collaboration with NOAA’s manned survey fleet, could greatly increase survey efficiency. Additionally, AUVs could be used for marine incident response and port security surveys due to their small size and flexible deployment options.

Spray AUV

 

Except for the external bladder and measurement sensors, located in a plastic tail section, all parts are encased inside a thin, 8-millimeter (1/4-inch) aluminum hull. Several components allow the glider to move vertically and horizontally in the water as it dives repeatedly from the surface.

In the forward section of the glider, three batteries provide the instrument power and help it to control its orientation. The electronics bay houses computer components, the CTD instrument, a GPS receiver, and a satellite transmitter used for communications with researchers.

Spray Gliders have no external moving parts or motors. Instead, they move on a pre-programmed course vertically and horizontally in the water by pumping mineral oil between two bladders, one internal and the other external to the hull. This action changes the volume of the glider, making it denser or lighter than the surrounding water.

Note: in the diagram, the section aft of the wings is rotated by 90° to show the vertical tail. (Illustration by Jayne Doucette, WHOI)

*What’s the difference between an AUV and a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV)?
AUVs operate independently of the ship and have no connecting cables.

Source, NOAA

 

Intelligent Autonomous Underwater Vehicle r2D4 for Deep-Sea Operation

Since 1984, Underwater Technology Research Center (Head: Professor Tamaki Ura), Institute of Industrial Science, the University of Tokyo has developed several Autonomous Underwater Vehicles(AUV, see #1) of various types and purposes (refer to http://underwater.iis.u-tokyo.ac.jp) and successfully achieved a few meaningful undersea missions. Some of representative examples are the full autonomous survey of Teisi knoll by the AUV "R-One" (see #2) in 2000, construction and field operation of Tantan, which was developed by the environments monitoring of lake Biwa in the middle of Honshu, Japan and experiment of humpback whale chase by AUV. As these examples explain, we are still challenging to broaden the practical applications of autonomous underwater vehicles. By these efforts, as the intelligent machine exploring the underwater region, AUV is becoming more and more a practical mean to survey and exploit the mysteries of undersea realm.

Based on the successes in development and field operations of AUVs in IIS, the university of Tokyo, we established a next generation AUV project named "r2D4" (see #3). This project is supported by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science(JSPS), as a scientific research awarded project grants-in-aid for "Development of Intelligent Autonomous Underwater Vehicle for Deep-Sea Operation" (see #4).

Purposes of this projects are summarized as follows; - After developing a highly-intelligent and highly-reliable AUV, it is deployed in the undersea region with the mission of surveying undersea hydrothermal vents. - During this survey mission, not only survey data containing the records of surrounding physical states near the vent spout, but the sequential data from vehicle operation are also recorded and fed back in order to improve the system architecture of r2D4 by getting rid of the expected problems for deep-sea operation. Repititions of this feedback procedure shall make r2D4 converge to the optimized system architecture for deep-sea hydrothermal vent exploration and result in the newly proposed undersea region survey system supported by the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle r2D4.

Costruction of hardware system as well as primary software system are completed in July, 2003 (Hardware Construction: Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding(MES), Co., Ltd.). The first field operation was conducted at the nothern part of Suruga bay, dated 7th July. During 15th - 17th July, the second field operation was held at the offing of Sado island, located in sea of Japan. This field work was done by the joint cooperation with underwater device department of MES. During this underwater operation, r2D4 tracked the pre-designated way points keeping the trajectory deviation sufficiently small. Due to the successfully achieved trajectory tracking control, r2D4 succeeded in taking the high-quality images of undersea geography by the side scanning sonar operation. In addition, measurement of CTDO was also carried out during this operation.

Though the main purpose of development is the survey of undersea hydrothermal vent, deployment of r2D4 is expected to enable several undersea missions such as seeking for lost articles in undersea, surveillance of undersea volcanoes, swimming animals watching, cooperative survey with undersea station and etc., because it has realized the handy system architecture with small size. And in december 2003, r2D4 is planned to be deployed in the Okinawa trough in order to survey the underwater hydrothermal vent near that region.

2. Introduction to r2D4

In the development of r2D4, key technologies acquired throught the development of R-One, the predecessor of r2D4, is directly applied. Owing to this technical inheritance, r2D4 is completed only within two(2) years with excellent vehicle performances, which is extremely short period compared to other AUV development projects in the world.

1) Characteristics of r2D4

Compact size and light weight (length overall: 4.4(m), weight: 1,600(kg))
Due to its compactness, r2D4 does not require the large size support vessel. And since its operation can be completed fully autonomously, neither does it require operational experts.
Self-Completeness
Laborious supports such as transponder installation are not neccessary
Accurate positioning by the combined instrumentation of optical gyroscope and doppler sonar
High reliability and safety
By the simultaneous manipulation of the data from multiple sensors(sensor fusion)
r2D4 has superior recongnition ability on the complicated underwater environments transition
Flexible and dynamically adaptive path planning ability for the observation.
If the vehicle finds out a suspicious place or an object in underwaer space, it can re-generate the target path dynamically in order to make this observation.

2) General Missions of r2D4

Observation by AUV is realized by tracing the successive way poionts arranged previously. One of the most common observation activities by AUV is the construction of 3-dimensional seabed topology or wide-range surveillance of undersea region using side scanning or interferometry sonar. Provided an abnormality is detected during the observation, r2D4 re-plans its cruising trajectory and makes the detailed observation in order to clarify the causes of recognized abnormality.

3) Comparion with "R-One", the predecessor of r2D4
Since it is designed compact and small, r2D4 does not require a support vessel which has several functional capabilities. Despite its compactness, r2D4 has much redundancy in its payload to install various equipments for observation. R2D4 is designed to be capable of submerging up to 4,000(m) of depth, aiming at the observation of undersea hydrothermal vent near Marina trough in midwest Pacific.

In the following table, we summaraize key items of r2D4 compared with those of R-One
Items r2D4 R-One
length overall(m) 4.4 8.27
breadth (m) 1.08 1.15
height (m) 0.81 1.15
weight (kg) (w/o payload) 1,506 4,550
weight (kg) (w payload) 1,630 4,740
max depth (m) 4,000 400
cruising range (km) 60 100
energy source Li-ion secondary battery CCDE
max speed (knot) 3 3
Main CPU PowerPC 233MHz MC68040x2
OS VxWorks VxWorks
navigation system INS(FOG)+DVL INS(RLG)+DVL

4) Observation and Instrument Devices
Not only the device units of generl purpose, r2D4 is able to be equipped with special devices for detailed observation and instrument near hydrothermal vent region, as shown.

* Side Scanning Sonar * Interferometry Sonar (accuracy order of 1(m))
* Video Camera x 2 * Oxidization-Reduction Voltage Meter
* 3-Axes Magnetometer * Manganese Ion Desitometer
* pH Sensor * Turbidimeter
* Thermal Flow Meter * Oxygen Densitometer

3. Outline of the Experiments on Suruga-Bay and Sado-Offing

Feedback from the experimental results in actual sea area is extremely important for the improvement of vehicle's performance. Therefore, we are planning a few field experiments of r2D4 since its primary software system as well as the hardware has been completed. During July in this year, we have made two (2) field experiments and obtained the data from as well as images of side scanning sonar. Analysis of the obtained data is the procedure of fundamental importance to improve the performance of AUV.

operation
ID place date max depth purpose
#1 northern part of Suruga-bay 10:26 - 11:01, 7th July, 2003 194(m) observation of the upper part of continetal shelf, 30(m) altitude
#2 northern part of Suruga-bay 11:13 - 12:07, 7th July, 2003 444(m) observation of the upper part of continetal shelf, 30(m) altitude
#3 Ryotsu, Sado-island in sea of Japan 12:10 - 14:06, 15th July, 2003 280(m) observation of the middle part Ryotsu-bay, 70(m) altitude
#4 Ryotsu, Sado-island in sea of Japan 11:59 - 16:43, 18th July, 2003 550(m) observation of a dislocation Ryotsu-bay, 50(m) altitude
#5 Ryotsu, Sado-island in sea of Japan 10:37 - 14:36, 19th July, 2003 418(m) observation of a dislocation Ryotsu-bay, 30(m) altitude

4. R2D4 - Expectations

Operation of r2D4 will enable the observation of undersea hydrothermal vent over a wide range. This kind of observation is expected to gather the fundamental data for the investigation of undersea carbondioxide discharge and hydrothermal spout, which will help us to understand the global circulation mechanism of them better. In addition, completion of r2D4 has brought about the installation of new oceanographic observation platform. Small and compact system architecture of r2D4 will enable the better achievement of various underwater missions, such as searching for the underwater lost articles, surveillance of underwater volcanoes, observation of sea animals, instrumentation of seawater quality as well as the observation of undersea hydrothermal vents.

5. Future Activities

At present, r2D4 is planned to carry out the following undersea observation activities.
2003
July : Sado-offing observation (completed, with the support vessel of Tansei-Maru belonging to the Ocean Research Institute, the University of Japan)
December : The 4-th Yonaguni-kaizan and Hatoma-kaizan observation (with the support vessel of Yokosuka, JAMSTEC)
2004
Observation of undersea hydrothermal vent near Mariana basin (with the support vessel of Hakuho-maru belonging to Ocean Research Institute, the University of Tokyo)
2005
Not decided yet
2006
Observation of undersea hydrothermal vent near Mariana basin (with the support vessel of Hakuho-maru belonging to Ocean Research Institute, the University of Tokyo)
Observation of Mid Ridge in Indian Ocean (with the support vessel of Hakuho-maru belonging to Ocean Research Institute, the University of Tokyo)

Observation in Kumanonada-offing is also planned in conjunction with the SMAPS(Super-detailed Mapping of Seafloor) project. In addition, observation of whale (Humpback, Sperm, etc.)by r2D4 is under consideration too.

Linked Data
Photos of r2D4
General Arrangement of r2D4
Navigation Trajectory during Sado-offing Observation
Side Scanning Sonar Images of Sado-Offing-1
Side Scanning Sonar Images of Sado-Offing-2
Schematics of the Undersea Intelligence Engineering and its Missions

#1) Autonomous Underwater Vehicle(AUV):
Unmanned, untethered submersible which moves according to the guidance by its own control system without the energy replenishment during the mission At present, majority of the unmanned submersible is ROV(Remotely Operating Vehicle) which is remotely operated one by human operators through the cable connection with the support vessel. But the utilization of AUV is expected to be more and more popular, because the treatment of cable system becomes extremely troublesome as the depth of operation becomes deeper.

#2) AUV R-One
R-One was developed by the joint cooperation between IIS, the University of Tokyo and Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. Actual sea operation of R-One began in 1996 and in 1998, R-One achieved the continuous operation during 12 hrs 37 mins. In 2000, R-One took the very fine side scanning sonar images of Teisi knoll in Ito-offing by the fully-autonomous vehicle operation.

#3) R-Two Project
In the terminology of "R-Two(or R-One)", "R" represents the Ridge System coming from Mid-Ocean Ridge. The first project of this is R-One, and R-Two is the successive project launched secondarily. In addition, "D4" means the maximum submergible depth of the vehicle, which is 4,000(m).

#4) "Development of Intelligent Autonomous Underwater Vehicle for Ridge System Survey in Deep Sea"
Research group for this awarded project is consists of the researchers from both engineering and scientific fields. Researchers from engineering fields are working for the underwater technology research center, institute of industrial science, the university of Tokyo. Other researchers from scientific fields consist of experts in underwater hydrothermal vents in Japan.
name institute major research items
Tamaki Ura IIS, the University of Tokyo Underwater Vehicle Project Manager, Research and Design of AUV
Akira Asada IIS, the University of Tokyo Underwater Acoustics Sonar System for AUV
Teruo Fujii IIS, the University of Tokyo Underwater Acoustics Intelligent Control
Yoshiaki Nose IIS, the University of Tokyo Mechanical System of AUV
Kensaku Tamaki Ocean Research Institute,
the University of Tokyo Earth Tectonics Observation of Undersea Bottom Structure
Toshitaka Gamo Graduate School of Science,
Hokkaido University Oceanographic Geochemistry Instrument for Chemical Measurement in Hydrothermal Vent
Hiromi Fujimoto Graduate School of Science,
Tohoku University Undersea Physics Analysis of Undersea Magnetization Structure
Kouichi Nakamura Institute for Marine Resources
and Environment,
National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) Ocean Geology Instrument for Chemical Measurement in Hydrothermal Vent

What's New at SAAB Seaeye:

 

Russian Nuclear Ice Breaker Image

FALCON PICKED FOR ICEBREAKERS

Two newly designed Russian icebreakers are sharing a Saab Seaeye Falcon ROV for pipeline operations in the Barents Sea.

Housed in a dedicated control container, the Falcon is passed between the ships as they undertake pipeline survey and inspection work, along with diving support tasks.

The specially designed container was created and manufactured by Tetis Pro, Saab Seaeye’s Russian distributor, and the largest company in Russia to specialise in the design, construction and supply of diving and subsea equipment.

The two new diesel-electric icebreakers, St Petersburg and Moscow, are built to an advanced hull design that improves seaworthiness in hostile sea-states and needs less power input during icebreaking operations.

The Falcon’s ability to work in demanding conditions and powerful currents, despite its compact size, is one of many reasons why Tetis Pro chose this highly successful vehicle.

Nothing matches the Falcon,’ declares Dmitry Voytov Head of ROV at Tetis Pro. ‘It is simple to use, light to man-handle, and fast to deploy. Upgrade is easy,and various tooling skids can be added and changed as needed.’

He explains that in addition to undertaking survey and inspection work, the Falcon supplied to the icebreakers is fitted with a detachable five-stage manipulator skid for light work tasks, along with preparing

“Nothing matches the Falcon”

Dimitry Voytov
Head of ROV at Tetis Pro

It is the fifth Falcon supplied to Russian customers through Tetis Pro. Others are currently engaged in pipeline free-span monitoring, mine detection prior to pipe-laying, marine biology work and deployment within the Russian Navy.
Moscow-based Tetis Pro was founded in 1991 and not only designs, manufactures and supplies diving and subsea equipment, but has pioneered the concept of containerised diving systems in Russia.

Saab Seaeye is the world’s largest manufacturer of electric ROVs and supplies systems to the oil and gas industry, defence forces, marine science and hydro engineering. Its parent company, Saab Underwater Systems, is itself a world leader in sensor systems, precision engagement systems, and remotely operated and autonomous underwater vehicles.

For more information contact:

Chris@Roperresources.com

Other Interesting News: Concerning Undewater Robotics Technologies & Research

The SERPENT project (Scientific and Environmental ROV Partnership using industrial Technology)

Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV), Ocean Explorer, NOAA

ROV Committee of the Marine Technology Society

Under water robot makes history crossing the gulf stream

Underwater World: Fisheries Canada

Underwater Research Lab: Simon Fraser University

click here for additional news stories relating to underwater robotics technology

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September 23, 2009 Posted by Kmax | Tags: AUV, ROV, Underwater, Robotics,Robotic submarines, SAAB, SEAEYE, Inuktun, Contros.Remotely Operated Vehicle,Remote Intervention systems,Sub Sea Robotics,Autonomous Underwater Vehicle,Autonomous Intervention,Inspection ROV,Sidescan Sonars,Underwater Cameras,CO2 CH4 sensors,Visual enhancement technology.