Hybrid AUV-ROV has the best of both worlds
“A ROV is a strictly tethered vehicle, so there’s a range issue,” said Dan Vandeweile of Aquabotix. It can’t slip the leash and move too far away from the surface vessel but it can allow high definition video to be seen on the ship above.
On the other hand, “an AUV you can throw in the water and it will collect data for you – but although you do have some basic navigation tracking via a USBL or DVL link, data is pretty limited as it doesn’t have that physical connection”, he explained.
“So,” he said, “We saw a gap in the market for something that could take on both roles.”
In AUV mode the Integra can roam alone via set waypoints or covering a broad area in a “mowing the grass” pattern, using wide-beam or multibeam sonar said Aquabotix Chief Development Officer Ted Curley. On finishing it will come back to the mothership with a list of locations of interest.
Then, when it comes to a fully focused investigation, it can be switched to ROV mode which gives a full 1080px video, narrow beam sonar and so on: “With the tether you can you can actually see everything in real time, as it happens,” he explained.
However, this hybrid vehicle will also be fitted with other devices tailored to the task in hand. “The challenge is that even though sensors and so on are getting smaller, it’s a bit like the kitchen sink... everyone wants to throw something into it,” he said. Just as tricky is that people ask to take these sensors off again: one Japanese customer wanted to both mount and dismount its own sonar device: Aquabotix found a way to integrate it while retaining the ability to swap the kit out again.
Although it can be powered with a line from the surface while tethered “Integra is small enough that you might well want to deploy it from a Zodiac, where there’s no room for a generator” said Curley. So Integra’s AUV and ROV modes both have roughly a four hour or eight-hour duty cycle when running from a single or twin battery pack, depending on payload.
It’s a cost-effective alternative: the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM) recently became the first customer for the Integra hybrid. “They are a research organisation with a limited budget... the Integra is competitively priced and having one, not two machines saves them money,” he concluded.
Latest Press Releases
MIT deliver Bespoke Exhaust Suspension System by Rubber Design for Sir David Attenborough Research Vessel
MIT has successfully delivered a bespoke exhaust suspension system to Cammell-Laird Shipbuilders in ... Read more
Damen has delivered two of four ASD 3212 tugs to towage and related marine services’ company Smit La... Read more
International equipment supplier Oceanscan has added underwater acoustic positioning technology from... Read more
Welders from Damen Shipyards Galati in Romania recently took part in the 2018 Arc Cup International ... Read more
The 326-metre, 146,000 DWT, cruise ship Norwegian Breakaway arrived in Brest on 28 April for 11 days... Read more
Damen Shipyards Group has delivered an ASD Tug 3212 as the second part of a two-vessel order placed ... Read more