SeaRobotics Corporation, a leader in development of remote controlled and autonomous ocean and marine surface vehicles, announced the successful deployment of a "collapsible" unmanned surface vehicle (USV) in support of important Arctic fisheries research conducted by Florida International University (FIU). The collapsible, four-meter USV was used to provide a broad range of survey data regarding the seabed off the shores of Point Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost point in the United States.
At the request of FIU, SeaRobotics outfitted the USV with an array of sensors that included a Kongsberg EK-60 split-beam echo sounder, M3 multi-beam sonar, 1.8 MHz DIDSON imaging sonar, and a low-cost side-scan sonar system. This equipment enabled researchers from FIU to perform a bathymetric survey of the seabed and collect other data regarding the health of fisheries located in the coastal waters of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas.
Photo: SeaRobotics’ Collapsible USV used near Barrow, Alaska
"We generated some very exciting data using the USV while keeping our research personnel safely on shore. Safety and efficiency are always major concerns when working in the Arctic and having a programmable, stable, and robust platform allowed us to collect novel data in challenging conditions," stated Kevin Boswell , Marine Sciences Professor in the Biology Department at FIU. "We also benefitted from the considerable amount of support given to us by residents of the Alaskan native community in the Barrow area. Their assistance will continue to be important to our future research efforts in the area including our return trips to the Arctic with the USV," added Boswell.
"SeaRobotics' USVs are durable and well-suited to handle the rugged conditions such as those found in the Arctic. In addition, our "collapsible" model can be converted to a relatively compact form for shipment, reducing the cost and logistical challenges of mobilizing to a remote location like the Alaskan North Slope," commented Don Darling, President of SeaRobotics. .
"When conditions make safety and efficiency a major problem, our vehicles have proven themselves time and time again to be the right solution," noted Darling.
Applications for SeaRobotics include bathymetric and hydrographic surveys; coastal, harbor, and riverine surveillance; and target and destructive test boats. SeaRobotics surface vehicles range from small, modular, man-portable systems to large, long-endurance workhorse vehicles that provide survey and surveillance systems.