In the field of unmanned surface vehicles (USVs), subsea and offshore solutions expert Unique Group is charting new territories in terms of industry standards, developing pioneering technology and making strategic decisions to push the boundaries within the USV market.
After spotting a gap in the market for a robust nearshore and shallow water USV, Unique Group built the ground-breaking Uni-Cat, launched April 2019. With the ability to be customised for a wide variety of payloads, and controlled from any location, the technology boasts multibeam sonar, ancillary sensors and 4G communication links for quick and easy deployment.
Developed in-house at Unique Group’s UAE facility in Sharjah, the powerful vehicle operates autonomously where traditional surveying methods cannot access. Incorporating a real-time positioning and obstacle warning alarm, plus a heading sensor for safe and guided navigation, Uni-Cat is one of the most capable shallow water USVs available.
The overall design of Uni-Cat proves extremely effective, reducing project timeframes by up to 25% and dramatically reducing client costs. The product offers hydrographic surveying capability, as well as oceanographic monitoring and inspection capabilities.
As a result of Uni-Cat’s success and having witnessed industry developments over the last 12 months, Unique Group has seized the opportunity to enhance its unmanned surface vehicles, to serve specific aspects of the market.
Uni-Cat proved an instant market success and created client demand for a smaller, lighter version. The result is Uni-Pact; designed with a shallow draft of 0.3 metres to enable it to access and operate in areas where larger USVs and vessels cannot reach. The technology offers efficient bathymetric surveying, controlled from anywhere in the world via WiFi or 4G connection.
Following its predecessor, the Uni-Pact still comprises a fully integrated and calibrated USV survey platform but with a single motor and in a much more compact form. As with the Uni-Cat, Uni-Pact has a modular structure with the capacity to carry a wide variety of payloads. In addition, however, the control system can be scaled to fit any USV, and because of this, new designs of vehicle can be developed quickly to meet the specific requirements of a project.
Its hydrodynamic-designed hull allows the Uni-Pact to move through the water more swiftly, accessing hard-to-reach places such as shallow or inland waters, under bridges and in narrow canals. The 220kg vehicle combines 1x24VDC electric engine, a M.A.P. autopilot system and can be controlled manually or follow a pre-programmes route that can be updated at any point through an easy PC-based graphical user interface.
Featuring multibeam or single beam echosounders, the Uni-Pact’s bathymetric survey systems are closely integrated with ancillary sensors and communication links into a proven remote-controlled platform for quick and easy deployment and data acquisition.
Both the Uni-Cat and Uni-Pact were created in-house by Unique Group’s Autonomous Division and this significant investment has added enormous value to the company’s global survey resources. Much like its Uni-Pact design, Unique Group is steadfastly powering through the USV market with no signs of slowing down. With plans to develop an even more comprehensive USV later this year, the company is leading the way in bespoke autonomous solutions.