In recent years the underwater navigation industry has expanded into more diverse and unique applications requiring a greater capability from its platform sensor set. Teledyne RD Instruments has answered the demand with a new patented Phased Array technology to be used as part of the growing Doppler Velocity Log and Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler Product Lines. This new technology derives a fundamental set of advantages over the standard Piston Array. It exhibits how the new Phased Array utilizes a single array transducer composed of multiple elements where four individual acoustic beams are electronically formed at their defined angles. In contrast the existing piston transducer technology utilizes the four individual ceramics where each beam is projected at its respective mounting angle. This yields the opportunity to increase the size of the single array while reducing the overall transducer size giving way for the characteristics which provide for operational improvement.More
The ENDURANCE autonomous underwater vehicle was developed and deployed to explore and map a unique environment: the waters of Lake Bonney in Taylor Valley, one of the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica. This permanently ice-covered lake presented several unique challenges and opportunities for exploration and mapping with an AUV. ENDURANCE was successfully deployed in the west lobe of Lake Bonney in the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 austral summer seasons, completing the rst full synoptic 3-D chemical prole and high-resolution 3-D geometric mapping of such a body of water. ENDURANCE successfully traversed the entire 1 km x 2 km lobe of the lake, including successful automated spooling of a science payload and automated docking into a deployment/recovery melt hole 0.25 m larger in diameter than the vehicle.More
This paper presents an architecture used to improve the navigation in UUVs by applying techniques that reduce vehicle position error growth during extended underwater operation. The techniques improve the navigation by reducing the horizontal vessel position error using navigation bottom fixes created from bottom objects detected in the overlapping
regions of side-scan sonar imagery. The architecture introduces a unique hybrid approach to feature detection and matching by combining both automated and manual methods. The details of a dynamic linear error model incorporating the drift in a typical INSDVL navigation system are provided. The error model assigns a circular error to the horizontal position of the UUV using system specifications, in-field calibration measurements, or system provided error estimates. Results using real UUV navigation data from a REMUS 600 vehicle demonstrate the architecture’s ability to significantly improve the navigation by reducing horizontal vessel position error using bottom fixes created from sidescan imagery.
Under the Offshore Platform Inspection System (OPIS) program, an LM AUV, the MARLIN(TM), is being outfitted with a mission package which includes a 3D imaging sonar and processors in order to inspect and build 3D models of subsea structures, and to detect large scale damage to these structures relative to a reference model. A key component of this model building and change detection functionality is a process by which sonar data is aligned to the reference model and the vehicle/sensor pose is recovered. An interesting by-product of this is the use of this recovered pose for feature based navigation. This paper presents a method to fuse the estimated pose from an inertial navigation system with the pose recovered from the alignment of sonar data with a reference model, and the use of this fused estimate in vehicle guidance, 3D model building and change detection, and to improve inertial navigation performance. While the technology is developed for an underwater platform inspection system, the methods have broader applicability. Results are presented to demonstrate the performance of the feature-based navigation system.More
This paper presents a summary of the current state-of-the-art in INS-based navigation systems in AUVs manufactured by Bluefin Robotics Corporation. A detailed description of the successful integrations of the Kearfott T-24 Ring Laser Gyro and the IXSEA PHINS III Fiber Optic Gyro into recent Bluefin Robotics AUVs is presented. Both systems provide excellent navigation accuracy for high quality data acquisition. This paper provides a comprehensive assessment of the primary advantages and disadvantages of each INS, paying particular attention to navigation accuracy, power draw, physical size, and acoustic radiated noise. Additionally, a brief presentation of a recently integrated Synthetic Aperture Sonar system will be used to highlight how critical a high-performance INS is to hydrographic, mine countermeasures, and other SAS applications.More
In any business school in the world, you will learn that there are just two ways to develop and lead a company: a manager must choose between being “techno-driven” or “market-driven”. However, all previous success stories demonstrate that the reality is far removed from this highly theoretical vision: in most cases, successful development results from an overlap between an idea and a need. This means that in practice the main issue for a manager is to invent new concepts while getting a feel for market orientation and trying to reach the best decision as to ‘when and how’ the company can bridge the two.
In 2000, IXSea focused on a single goal: ensuring that it was capable of providing the right technical solutions ocean exploration would be looking for throughout the coming century.
Why this choice?
There can be no doubt that one of the challenges of the 21st century will be to become the masters of the largest part of our planet – its oceans – and it is also obvious that at present we have no idea of the means we will employ to accomplish that. However, what is absolutely certain is that all those involved in this challenge, scientists, oil and gas industries, naval forces, etc… have their eyes on the same goals: deeper, faster and easier!
For example, in just five years iXSea brought fiber optic gyro technology to unmanned underwater vehicles, designed USBL plug-and-play systems, democratized Synthetic Aperture Sonar and invented real-time magnetic imaging. We saw here a need for interdependence between wide-ranging R&D in optoelectronics, acoustics, signal processing and NMR, of which we had complete mastery in our research labs, and easy-to-use solutions for the most demanding applications.
The main purpose of the present paper is to look again at some of our technologies, and see how they could solve some of the most challenging underwater problems of the early 2000s, and also to describe the solutions on which iXSea is working in order to meet the latest challenges in positioning and imagery.
Key Words: Fiber Optic GyroMore
This Paper considers the problem of cooperative mapping and navigation (CMAN) by multiple unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs). The goal is for several UUVs to concurrently build maps of an unknown environment, and to use these maps for navigation. This work builds on our previous research in development of concurrent mapping and localization (CML) techniques for a single vehicle. In this paper, cooperative stochastic mapping is proposed as a new framework for featurebased CML by multiple vehicles. Previous research related to cooperative mapping and navigation is reviewed. New research issues encountered, such as information transfer management, decentralized data fusion, and cooperative adaptive sampling are discussed.More
The HUGIN II untethered underwater vehicle (UUV) provides detailed seabed survey services to the offshore industry on a commercial basis. This paper discusses the resulting depth accuracy of the digital terrain model (DTM) that can
be achieved with an UUV using standard commercially available multibeam echosounders, navigation sensors, pressure transmitters, CTD sensors, sound velocity sensors and international standards for computation of salinity and density.
The results are also applicable for remotely operated vehicles (ROV) and towed fish.
Abstract: This publication addresses underwater vehicle navigation and localization using a single acoustic beacon, assuming that the depth of the beacon is known. This problem is found in scenarios such as deep-sea navigation and airplane black-box recovery. In the case of deep-sea exploration, single-beacon navigation reduces system set-up time and operational costs. A parametric flter that allows for real-time implementation at an aordable computational load
is developed. The proposed method is based on the SLAM framework and the inverse-depth parameterization employed in Computer Vision. Our approach is analyzed through simulations to assess its consistency and eciency. Finally, our method is applied to real data acquired during the inspection of the wall of a dam by an AUV.