Sea Technology

DEC 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 10 of 52

10 st / December 2017 The current way to conduct surveys typically involves surveyors on board research vessels. In our book, game- changing technology should rely only to a limited extent on the support vessel, meaning it must have high endur- ance to minimize operator intervention, enable an easy change of payload, and require only simple maintenance. The AUSV should provide standard high-quality data in all circumstances, which means it must be able to extend the M aritime environmental surveys in various fields (e.g., energy, ocean sciences, de- fense) have been under the influence of unprec- edented technical developments over the past few decades. Specialized vessels have trans- formed from survey platforms to general-pur- pose support ships. ROVs with umbilicals have come into play, and, a few years later, autono- mous vehicles started to appear. The latter were mostly submersibles and encompassed AUVs and gliders. There is a new type of maritime ro- bot iXblue is focusing on: the autonomous un- manned surface vehicle (AUSV). AUSV Advantages The first advantage of an AUSV is that it oper- ates from the water's surface. This means three things. First, the AUSV knows no broadcasting limitations. It can be fitted with any system, pro- viding it is the appropriate size, power supply, etc. Therefore, there are no bandwidth restric- tions, and, from a theoretical point of view, it can upload any data immediately on any kind of server. This makes the AUSV a device for real- time information sharing. Its second advantage is that it is not exposed to external depth pressure, which gives a certain freedom in the size, design and payload. This lowers the price of the AUSV. The third advantage is positioning. Navigat- ing on the surface, the AUSV has no position uncertainty and even offers excellent position- ing references for submerged robots operating underneath. Future-Proof iXblue has designed DriX, an AUSV with a level of au- tonomy that allows it to be cost effective and ready for a fu- ture of unleashed full autonomy. In full autonomous mode, DriX will get underway, reach its area of operation, conduct its mission while transmitting the data to shore-based treat- ment installations and return to base on its own. Developing and Evolving Unmanned Surface Vessels DriX AUSV Will Enable Autonomous Survey with or without Ships By Guillaume Eudeline (Top) DriX at sea. (Bottom) DriX path over mission preparation during sea trials.

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