KONGSBERG to Deliver Ecosystem Monitoring Autonomous Vessels
Autonomous VesselsKONGSBERG

KONGSBERG to Deliver Ecosystem Monitoring Autonomous Vessels

Kongsberg Maritime has reached an agreement to supply Norway’s Institute of Marine Research with four autonomous vessels. The scope of supply includes

Kongsberg Maritime has reached an agreement to supply Norway’s Institute of Marine Research with four autonomous vessels. The scope of supply includes two Kongsberg Maritime Sounder USVs (Unmanned Surface Vehicles) and two KONGSBERG AUVs (Autonomous Underwater Vehicles), which will form the practical basis of the institute’s long-term strategy to develop the monitoring and management of marine environments and resources. The KONGSBERG AUVs are scheduled for delivery this year, with the USVs following in the late summer/early autumn of 2022. The AUVs are depth-rated to 1,500m and are equipped with a powerful payload for environmental monitoring and seabed mapping.

The four autonomous vessels will be equipped with KONGSBERG’s new Blue Insight, a cloud-based ecosystem designed to facilitate remote instrument operation, data visualisation and smart management of oceanographic and meteorological data. Infrastructure for automated classification of fish through machine learning is a key feature of the delivery, consolidating the long-running partnership between KONGSBERG and the IMR towards the goal of implementing seagoing drones for ecosystem management.

The Sounder USVs carry a scientific package which has been devised to provide optimal performance; a versatile, flexible, multi-purpose data-gathering platform which can be used for a variety of hydroacoustic observation and surveying applications, ranging from seabed mapping to fishery research. The IMR USVs will be equipped with a full EK80 wideband system accommodating ADCP functionality, similar to the setup on their existing research vessels.

Capable of running for up to 20 days at a speed of 4 knots, the Sounder USV is designed to enable a rapid and simple changeover of its sensor payload, and can be configured to allow equipment to be mounted in its roomy moonpool, on its bow or on its keel in an underwater sensor gondola – a special adaptation which is an ideal arrangement for this solution. The USV’s onboard power generation capabilities enable several payloads to be operated simultaneously.

With a compact length of 8m, the Sounder USV also boasts a well-balanced hull, designed to produce the most accurate data from acoustic instruments by ensuring the smoothest possible passage through the water. This minimises the presence of aerated water and optimises the signal/noise-in-water ratio, factors that might otherwise adversely affect the results. With the bow, rudders and stabilising fins working together to minimise rolling, pitching and drag while enhancing manoeuvrability, the Sounder USV constitutes a highly cost-effective and environmentally-sound surveying tool. It can be transported in standard-sized shipping containers, and is covered by KONGSBERG’s global service and support network.

Importantly, control and navigation of both AUVs and the Sounder USVs can be handled just by a single interface. The comprehensive overview provided by this fleet management capability enables interoperability between all assets and reduces in-mission complexity.

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