Sea Technology

JUN 2017

The industry's recognized authority for design, engineering and application of equipment and services in the global ocean community

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www.sea-technology.com June 2017 / st 33 I t wasn't long ago that the only op- tion for obtaining quality imagery, bathymetric survey and profiling data in rivers, lakes and bays was to use hull-mounted or deployable sensors on board specialized re- search vessels. Limitations on data collection included draft of the ves- sel, availability of personnel trained to operate the vessel and equipment, and labor and fuel costs. With the advent of AUVs and associated sen- sor technology, these limitations are rapidly fading. Similar to the way that capabili- ties of cellphones and other portable electronic devices have progressed over the past decade, AUVs have benefited from the development of instrumentation that is smaller, more robust, more accessible and more af- fordable. There is a wide array of in- strumentation available on the newest AUVs, some of which weren't considered or even available in previous iterations of the products. AUV as Teaching Tool The United States Naval Academy (USNA) in Annapo- lis, Maryland, is situated at the confluence of the Severn River and Chesapeake Bay. For years, USNA Oceanogra- phy Department faculty have monitored sections of Chesa- peake Bay, the Severn River and other coastal estuaries for their own research endeavors and to provide the midship- men with hands-on educational experiences. So when the department received funding from the Office of Naval Re- search to purchase an AUV as a research and teaching tool, they took the opportunity to support and enhance the cur- riculum with Xylem's YSI Integrated Systems and Services i3XO EcoMapper AUV. The USNA's new EcoMapper includes a Doppler veloc- ity log for navigation and current profiling; Tritech's StarFish 452F side scan sonar for bathymetry; Imagenex 852 forward echosounder for object avoidance; Iridium satellite/Wi- Fi/2.4-GHz communications; and GPS for navigation. Also on the AUV is the YSI EXO1 multiparameter sonde water quality system with sensors measuring conductivity/tem- perature, pH, optical dissolved oxygen, turbidity and total algae. Oceanography majors at USNA use the AUV in a variety of introductory and advanced courses, and honors students also use it to conduct research on currents in the Severn River. The data collected by the AUV provides midshipmen Researchers, Scientists Rely on AUVs Smaller, Faster Instrumentation Enables Real-Time Mapping, Sensing By Shawn Sneddon USNA Oceanography Department faculty engage in AUV training prior to deployment. Shown is the i3XO EcoMapper from Xylem's YSI Integrated Systems and Services. Built on the Iver3 platform from OceanServer Technology, the i3XO is the newest AUV to come from the 10-year-old partnership between the two companies.

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