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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34 st / June 2017 human observation that would other- wise be required. And with improve- ments in portability, plug-and-play sen- sors and intuitive user interfaces, AUV installations have found many uses and applications across the globe. To name just a few examples, AUVs are in use at iron mines in Chile (and around the world) to monitor cooling ponds for environmental contamination and tur- bidity to ensure compliance with local ordinances; by dredging contractors prior to lake or river dredging to pro- vide accurate floor mapping for water depth, obstructions and scope-of-work details; in graduate student and profes- sorial research on water profiling, floor surveys and spot sample monitoring of coastal waterways, estuaries, lakes and rivers for obtaining baseline and ongo- ing environmental data; by universities as a teaching tool in the oceanograph- ic, marine, environmental and related fields; and by government agencies for mapping and documentation surveys of bodies of water. Whether the need is to teach USNA midship- men or provide data to an iron mine, near-coastal AUVs can handle depths of 100 m or more, and are becoming the go-to solution for researchers and scientists across the globe. Cutting-Edge Technology Integrated into AUVs Given the compact nature of some of the technology available, AUVs today can be equipped with a comprehensive array of ad- vanced instrumentation and can be deployed by one person from the shore or from a small boat. They can provide a wide area survey without needing a workboat or associated staff and can be mission programmed for up to 12 hr. with Li-ion batteries for long run times and a quick recharge. In addition to typical AUV instrumentation like side scan sonar imaging and bathymetric surveying, which provide researchers and scientists with detailed imagery for bottom mapping, AUVs are now available with sondes, providing high-resolution water quality data, measuring as many as eight different water quality parameters at a time. From dissolved oxygen or pH to turbidity and conduc- tivity/temperature (CT), researchers can benefit from the compact technology fitted into the nose of the AUV. And because of the undulations of the AUV through the water column, data can be provided in both the horizontal and vertical planes for a more accurate representation of real- time nuances. Downward-looking current profiling and Doppler veloc- ity logs to measure water velocity are additional capabili- ties that the research and scientific community are finding valuable on board an AUV application to help monitor tidal activity, weather patterns and overall health and well-being of a body of water. with expanded opportunities to engage in hands-on, real- time data collection, which is a valuable part of the learning process. AUV as Workhorse As with many advancements in technology, newer instru- mentation with all the whistles and bells can often be fin- icky, cumbersome and lacking an intuitive interface. AUVs certainly run the gamut of user-friendly and effective, but given the working environment of underwater applications, most tend to be robust platforms with a ruggedized frame- work and easy-to-use simplicity. As such, AUVs have be- come workhorses in the field for all types of applications, from contractors to educational institutions. AUVs provide critical data to the end-user, without the tedious hours of (Top and Bottom) With sonar and bathymetric surveying, over- laid with georeferencing, AUVs can provide detailed imagery of ocean, coast, lake and river bottoms. The nose of the Eco- Mapper contains object-avoidance sonar and high-resolution sondes for collecting water quality data.

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