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First complete prototype testing became a great success

Written by:

Per Norvald Boge.

Published at: useaoceandata.com

Date: 16.06.21

USEA Ocean Data conducted its first complete prototype testing in June 2021. The demonstration was a great success, with repeated docking of the AUV to the actively controlled towed docking station.

The demonstration was set up to prove the potential of the unique ACCESS-AUV technology and to gain valuable insight for the time leading up to the launch in 2023.

Our technology is unique in facilitating the unmanned docking of an AUV to an active towed docking station, and we were excited to see if we could nail this on our first live test, says Per Norvald Boge, Operations Manager at USEA Ocean Data.

Over a three-day period in Åsenfjorden in Trondheim, the ACCESS-AUV project got to see the light of day for the first time. Using the NTNU research vessel Gunnerus, the demonstration was set up to show all the components of the complete prototype working together.

Covid-19 made test more authentic

- To achieve a successful demonstration the very first time the technology was tested was both extremely useful and exhilarating. Covid-19 restrictions forced a whole lot more technical remote support than planned. Although it was not a key part of the technology demonstration it was certainly in line with the USEA concept of unmanned operations, Boge explains.

Although the technology components and working principles had been bench tested one by one on a smaller scale by each of the partners and suppliers, this was the first time they were all working together. One of the main components of the demonstration was to oversee the docking of the mapping vehicle LAUV Fridtjof, which had been modified and fitted with an adapted nose cone. The demonstration was also set to test the mechanical locking and pinless power and data connectors and to control the software and sensor upgrades of Scan Fish remotely operated towed vehicle (ROTV) system.

- The main proof of success was the demonstration of repeated docking of the AUV to the actively controlled towed docking station. The experience from this technology demonstration gave us valuable experiences that will improve the coming commercial versions of the system. “I believe this technique will revolutionize the gathering of ocean data”, Norvald Boge continues.

The order of demonstration tasks:

  1. Perform and document function test of inductive charging, including battery management system
  2. Perform and document function test of high speed inductive data transfer, including AUV control through the same connection.
  3. Verify functionality of the mechanical actuation of docking mechanism, including software control implementation.
  4. Verify physical behaviour of modified ROTV system
  5. Verify functionality of AUV tracking sensors, ROTV mounted.
    Achieve ROTV-AUV close contact tracking.
  6. Verify suitability of control software interface
    Achieve ROTV-AUV continued close contact tracking.
  7. Demonstrate control algorithms of ROTV.
  8. Dock AUV to towed docking station.
  9. Release and repeat docking