Uncrewed surface vehicle (USV) specialist HydroSurv Unmanned Survey has teamed up with marine technology specialist Sonardyne to develop and demonstrate what the companies say will be transformative seabed-to-shore sensing and data acquisition technologies for offshore operations.
The project is part-funded by Innovate UK. HydroSurv's REAV-40 USV will be paired with intelligent seafloor and vessel-mounted instruments from Sonardyne.
These will then be used in combination with internet-based cloud- services to provide an end-to-end seabed-data-to-shore service initially targeted towards the offshore wind industry.
Key elements of the project include a self-transiting USV, acoustic positioning of and data harvesting from seabed instruments, a real-time gathering of geo-referenced current profile data, and live relay of information to operatives onshore through secure cloud-based systems.
The project will also demonstrate the ability to overcome potential navigational limitations working in and around wind farms, the companies said.
The key instrument package includes Sonardyne's Mini-Ranger 2 Ultra-Short BaseLine (USBL) acoustic positioning system and its SPRINT-Nav hybrid acoustic-INS navigation instrument, which provides USV platforms with navigational redundancy both for when GNSS is compromised and where DVL bottom lock is out of range.
Used in combination with Sonardyne's seafloor sensors and access to cloud-based services, this package provides an integrated suite of capabilities to maximize the use of USVs for intelligent data harvesting operations in remote offshore environments.
The latest project, which officially launches in April 2021, will see the Hydrosun enter the offshore domain.
Offshore Wind Farm Demonstration
According to the press release issued on Tuesday, the culmination of the project will be a series of demonstrations at an operational offshore wind farm site within the UK.
"The coronavirus pandemic has further underlined the benefit of using resilient USVs and flexible instruments, which enable continuous data-flow without sending personnel offshore," says David Hull, Founder & CEO at HydroSurv.
"This has never been more important than today to safeguard routine monitoring and survey capabilities. Over the longer term, this approach will reduce the cost, risk, time, and carbon footprint of gathering operational data."
"Combining USVs like HydroSurv's REAV-40 with our seabed-data-to-shore technologies promises to bring a step-change in the efficiency of asset monitoring and data gathering operations for the offshore wind industry," says Geraint West, Global Business Manager, Oceanographic, at Sonardyne.
"Using USVs, which can be deployed at short notice, can vastly reduce operator logistics, emissions, risk to humans and costs and will allow operators faster access to operationally important information about their wind farms."