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What is an AUV and what is unique about our system?

Written by:

Erik T. Sollesnes.

Published at: useaoceandata.com

Date: 12.01.22

Autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV) is the go to method for deep underwater surveys for many industries. At USEA Ocean Data we work to perfect the operation to ensure longer data sampling sessions without risk to crew.

The use of AUVs have become one of the most used methods for surveys in the ocean. AUVs come in different shapes, sizes, endurance levels, and configurations. Working autonomously, the vehicle is not tethered to any control, meaning no human intervention is needed during missions.

Autonomous, but in need for support

Although AUVs come in a variety of models, they are always supported by a manned surface vessel for handling, in addition to battery charging and data retrieval. A manned surface vessel is typically equipped with acoustic communication for the AUV to gain improved navigation and some mission support. The surface vessel is also the main cost driver and the main contributor to the carbon footprint of an AUV survey mission. Having manned vessels also introduces safety risk, especially in challenging weather conditions.

At USEA we have solved many of the cost and time driving obstacles that traditional use of AUVs represent. By combining the use of an Unmanned Surface Vessels (USV) and an automated AUV Launch and recovery system we ensure that costs, risks for crew and the carbon footprint will be reduced.

Smart Unmanned Surface Vessels

Unmanned Surface Vessels (USV) are emerging in the maritime sector and provide a ground-breaking reduction of cost, carbon footprint and risk for operations at sea. USEA Ocean Data is in the forefront in the development of unmanned vessels and will apply them to the AUV survey market.

For a USV to further aid an AUVs endurance, uSEAs proprietary uLARS™ (unmanned Launch And Recovery System) bridges the gap between the two systems and allows the AUV to be charged with data transfer without having to resurface. The system will also secure recovery of the AUV to the deck of the USV. The uLARS™ system consists of two parts, one part above water, on the USV deck, and one part under water. An AUV will dock to the underwater part of the uLARS while submerged, this allows the system to operate even in challenging weather.