Subsea inertial navigation technology supplied by Sonardyne Inc., Houston has been selected by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), for its deep-rated remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), Ventana and Doc Ricketts.

The SPRINT systems will be used in conjunction with MBARI’s existing Sonardyne Ranger 2 acoustic tracking systems to improve the accuracy, precision and integrity of subsea vehicle positioning in water depths up to 13,000 feet. The SPRINT for Ventana has already been installed and commissioned whilst the unit ordered for Doc Ricketts is scheduled to be delivered in the coming months.

Located in Moss Landing, California, MBARI is recognized as a world center for advanced research and education in ocean science and technology. To support its work, it has at its disposal a wide range of marine technology and assets including Ventana and Doc Ricketts and the research ships which serve as their support vessels, Rachel Carson and Western Flyer. Now in its third generation, SPRINT’s high-grade inertial sensors make optimal use of acoustic aiding from data sources including USBL, LBL and Doppler Velocity Log (DVL) and pressure sensors to extend operational capability and improve vehicle control.

Uniquely, SPRINT supports dual gyrocompass and INS operating modes, meaning that ROV pilots and science teams are able to rely upon its output simultaneously. Its small, lightweight titanium housing provides valuable space and weight savings that can instead be used for additional payload and samples.

Commenting on the order, Kim Swords, Senior Application Engineer at Sonardyne said that it was further recognition of the many operational benefits SPRINT brings to international ocean science programs. “The need for both accurate and multiple means of subsea navigation is a priority for all missions involving marine robotic platforms. SPRINT has been helping to do this now for more than 10 years, delivering class-leading performance that helps strengthen the value of the observations and data gathered by ROVs and AUVs.”

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