USV for seismic operations
Norway's Maritime Robotics specialises in the development of unmanned craft and following extensive trials the company has developed the Mariner USV which is claimed to be a revolutionary tool for seismic operation.
Now the company has signed a long-term contract with Seabed Geosolutions and the Mariner USV is now a standard component their toolbox for seismic exploration.
“This is really an amazing realization of our business proposal, USVs aiding manned operation, reducing cost and reducing HSE risk exposure,” said Vegard Evjen Hovstein, the CEO of Maritime Robotics. “The contact between Seabed GeoSolutions and Maritime Robotics goes all the way back to 2008, and we have to give a great credit to a few visionary persons within Seabed GeoSolutions who had the guts to be the very first ones to move forward and realise the opportunities that many have seen.”
The Mariner USV is based on a 5.85 metre long Polar Cirkel hard tube RIB which offers a robust and almost maintenance free hull. It will fit into a 20 foot container for transport and the large payload bay can be equipped with a wide variety of survey and detection equipment but a unique feature is a 300 mm moonpool where sub-surface equipment can be lowered into the water.
The USV is powered by a single Volvo Penta D3 diesel which is couple to a Hamilton241 waterjet. This can give top speeds in excess to 30 knots and the 250 litre fuel tank can offer a duration of 50 hours when the USV is travelling at a slow survey speed. Control of the USV can be from a shore station or a mother ship with sensors that show an electronic chart display coupled to AIS, GPS positioning and/or hydro-acoustic positioning. A video link is also incorporated.
The Mariner USV is a dedicated unit but Maritime Robotics can also upgrade existing craft for USV operation. Some users want the option of using their survey boat in an unmanned mode, while still having the option of manned use. Other users see a potential in using USV’s but are not yet ready to take the cost of investing in a custom USV platform. For those users the Maritime Robotics USV Conversion System offers a unique opportunity to take advantage of the possibilities for unmanned surface operations.
Maritime Robotics successfully converted the Fugro Alumaster for use in unmanned operations. The process involved a re-use of most of the existing systems onboard the boat, and thereafter installing and interfacing the Maritime Robotics USV Conversion System. This conversion system includes the same vehicle control station, communication and on-board systems as the more integrated Mariner USV system, but can also be highly customised for special requirements.
By Dag Pike
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