Sea Technology

MAY 2018

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 May 2018 | ST 15 iXblue, a global company that provides innovative solutions devoted to navigation, positioning and underwater imaging, recently took part in a scientific mission to study marine ecosystems around the Malpelo Island, off the coast of Columbia. This mission was part of a three-year circumnavigation of the world's oceans and seas to study the overexploitation of marine resources, pollution, ocean warming and acidification, endangered species, coral reef bleaching as well as ecosystem imbalance. It is to learn, from the complex interactions between species and from the role of humans as they interact with the sea, as well as strengthen the tools for sustainable management and development, that Monaco Explorations decided to renew the long tradition of great explorations carried out over past centuries. Onboard the Yersin, a vessel turned into a scientific boat by Monaco Explorations, iXblue's USBL (Ultra Short Base Line) positioning system, Gaps, provided accurate positioning of the ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) used by local scientists invited to sample environmental DNA and film the seabed during the three- week mission. For this mission, Gaps was installed on a pole lowered into the water thanks to the crane of the vessel. This allowed the easy use of Gaps that did not need to be mounted on the vessel itself, an operation that would have proven challenging on this type of ship. Such a use of iXblue's USBL antenna was made possible thanks to the INS (Inertial Navigation System) directly integrated within Gaps, and that provided permanent and accurate monitoring of the antenna's motion. Gaps thus ensured accurate positioning of the ROV, whatever its conditions of use (vertical or horizontal positioning) and offered a nominal range of 4000 meters and a positioning precision of 1 meter for 1000 meters of slant range. Recent updates made to Gaps opened up the way to new functional capabilities such as a bidirectional acoustic communication link between the vessel and the underwater vehicle thanks to the telemetry function. In addition to its positioning functionality, Gaps thus also acts as an acoustic modem, enabling various other features (recalibrating an INS while in position, retrieving sensors data, sending control command to a subsea vehicle, retrieving the subsea vehicle information). Gaps offers a robust acoustic communication link with a data transfer speed that can reach up to 500 bits/s even in harsh and noisy environments. Gaps thus offers both the positioning and the telemetry functionality within a single device, making it possible to save space and energy on the underwater vehicle which only has to use a single beacon. This makes the management of acoustic resources much more straightforward as the transmissions sequencing of positioning and telemetry signals are controlled by a single device, eliminating risks of interference. Adopted by over 120 companies, institutes and navies worldwide, iXblue's flagship subsea positioning system, Gaps, rapidly established itself as the new standard product for operations requiring the precise positioning of an underwater vehicle. It is now used in various applications such as subsea construction, offshore energy exploitation, deep see mining, as well as other defense applications. ■ High accuracy subsea positioning for scientific mission off the coast of Columbia Sponsored by iXblue © Monaco Explorations

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