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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Page 36 of 72

36 st / June 2017 comprehensive picture of what the instrumentation picked up along the bottom. Smaller, Better, Faster, Cheaper When looking to purchase a new AUV, the prices tend to run a dramatic range, from well under six figures to well over. The costs are in direct correlation to the technology on board and the range and amount of instrumentation that is installed. When you compare the cost of a fully equipped AUV, versus that of a research vessel or a team of scien- tists, the cost-benefit analysis starts to make a lot of sense to government agencies, the military, universities, contractors and private organizations. And as the technology becomes more advanced and more compact, and the data become more available, researchers and scientists—whether they're monitoring water quality parameters in a large river or en- gaging in a dredging project and need the detailed mapping of a lake floor—can take advantage of AUVs and the rapid advances of the instrumentation that are being outfitted on these valuable portable laboratory vehicles. Acknowledgments Captain Emil Petruncio of the U.S. Navy and Alexander R. Davies, an oceanography instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, contributed to this ar- ticle. Davies can be reached at ST Shawn Sneddon is an instrumentation and application engineer at YSI Inte- grated Systems and Services, a Xylem brand, and can be reached at shawn. the AUVs—and the AUVs themselves—have become easier to use, easier to program and easier to maintain. For exam- ple, Xylem's YSI Systems and Services, which specializes in product integration, has taken the advanced Iver3 platform from OceanServer Technology Inc. and customized it with numerous add-ons, such as side scan sonar, Doppler veloc- ity logs and YSI water quality sondes to provide the ultimate portable monitoring vehicle for research scientists. Besides these advanced capabilities, the AUV stands as a robust autonomous platform with mission-planning soft- ware that's easily programmed via a user-friendly interface and step-by-step process to map out any customized mis- sion. Using GPS coordinates and standard back and forth "lawnmower" patterns, the AUV can cover as much ground and detail as required to obtain the necessary data. More Instruments, More Data With the increased amount of instrumentation on AUVs, there is the need to transfer the data to the researcher or scientist in a convenient manner. Some AUVs do this via Wi-Fi, broadcasting their own Wi-Fi for configuration and for data retrieval. Other, more advanced AUVs, also have built-in Iridium antenna receiv- ers in order to transmit specific information such as GPS coordinates, waypoints, battery life or vehicle state. As the AUV rides along the surface of the water, the in- formation is transferred to a base station or to any interface with an Internet connection. Once the data have been ob- tained, they are often aligned with other mapping or imag- ing technologies using georeferencing to help paint a more

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