The Magazine for Underwater Professionals

May/Jun 2019


L3 Technologies demonstrates 'game-changing' autonomous subsea inspection capability

In a tradeshow first, L3 Technologies, USA, successfully demonstrated an autonomous surface vessel deploying, operating and recovering a remotely operated vehicle at the recent Ocean Business 2019 event held at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, UK. The C-Worker 7 ASV deployed an inspection-class ROV to demonstrate vertical and horizontal subsea inspection.

The system has been developed for use in hazardous offshore environments for tasks such as jacket and hull inspections, and pipeline and cable survey in oil and gas and renewable energy applications.
“This demonstration is a key milestone in autonomous inspection subsea technology. This game-changing autonomy can enable significant reductions in terms of cost and time spent at sea for both operators and ships,” said James Cowles, commercial technical sales manager, L3 Technologies, Unmanned Maritime Systems UK.

The demonstration followed the completion of phase one of an Innovate UK part-funded project called ARISE. The project involved the University of Exeter, UK, as an academic partner and was supported by BP.

“BP is looking at ways to take people out of hazardous environments and the autonomous capability being developed by L3 Technologies can enable us to make that a reality. The C-Worker 7 autonomous vessel paired with an ROV has huge potential to change the way subsea inspection tasks are carried out. It is an exciting time for the oil and gas industry, the technology is there, imagination is the only thing that can hold us back,” said Peter Collinson, subsea and environmental specialist at BP.

MacArtney introduces new metal shell connector series
  • The TrustLink series is available in variable pin counts with male and female inserts

The MacArtney Group, Denmark, has announced the introduction of its TrustLink metal shell (MS) connector series to the global market.

The TrustLink MS series includes cutting-edge power and signal connectivity solutions for critical subsea and offshore applications, according to the company. “Utilising the latest advanced technology, rugged materials and MacArtney’s connectivity know-how,” the firm said, “the TrustLink MS series is manufactured from stainless steel and comes in three shell sizes compatible with industry standards.”

“Suitable for the harshest of marine environments due to their rugged reliability and high-density, these compact, modular designed connectors are easy to use and are designed to fit where limited space is a factor,” MacArtney added.

TrustLink MS connectors are available in several configurations and can range from four to 37 electrical contacts with male or female insert options available within the same metal shell housing. All metal parts are diamond polished to provide an anti-seizing surface and a high-quality finish.

The connectors comply with the EN 60664-1 requirements for clearance and creepage distances and meet safety standards for a pollution degree 2 within a microenvironment.

“In line with MacArtney’s high standards for product performance,” said the company, “TrustLink connectors are thoroughly tested at every stage of production to ensure full integrity, functionality, and first-rate performance from the surface to seabed.”

All connectors and bulkheads are supplied unterminated. However, custom moulding and termination by MacArtney is available from its global stock that includes a range of standard MacArtney cables.

Germany-based EvoLogics has introduced the latest addition to its range of underwater acoustic modems: the new-generation S2C T modem.

Dubbed “tiny”, the light and ultra-compact S2C T represents a size reduction of almost 20% compared to the EvoLogics M-series mini-modems.

“The S2C T series form factor will be available for EvoLogics’s high frequency models, catering to modern size- and weight-sensitive applications with four frequency range/directivity options,” said the company.

The new model features a fully-fledged S2C engine with no compromises in acoustic performance, according to EvoLogics. “It is a great fit for small AUVs and ROVs where seamless integration of the components is critical,” the firm said.

Dynautics announces launch of Phantom, a new modular and scalable autonomous u/w vehicle

Dynautics, the UK-based specialist in intelligent marine electronics for unmanned boats, has announced the launch of a modular and scalable AUV called the Dynautics Phantom.

The release represents a new concept in modular AUV design that can be adapted to carry a range of payloads and scalable to ensure it can be adapted to suit the end users’ mission, according to the company.

Dr Henry Robinson, Dynautics chief executive officer, said: “We have developed a simple and efficient design on a fast turnaround basis, the sea trials have been successful, and we have shipped products to our first customer.

“We designed the Phantom AUV to be modular to ensure that we can adapt the vehicle’s design to meet the needs of our potential customers. We understand that customers have specific mission needs and we want to help them achieve a successful outcome.”

New laser scanning solution

Canada-based 2G Robotics has launched its latest integrated dynamic laser scanning solution. The new Dynamic Laser Scanning Skid incorporates all sensors required for high-precision data collection, reducing the complexity of equipment mobilisations for UAVs and ROVs, according to the company.

The firm said the system has already been successfully tested with clients in the Gulf of Mexico, in collaboration with Seatronics, UK, and will now be available for rent globally through Seatronics.

2G Robotics said the skid includes a number of key features that save time and cost, including: the navigation and laser scanning come bundled together in a single integrated unit, eliminating complex piecemeal integrations; the ROV survey skid payload can easily be swapped in or out, enabling clients to quickly change missions; a small footprint enables installation on a variety of vehicles, from mid-class to work-class inspection; and the system is delivered fully integrated, with nothing to configure, patch test, assemble or calibrate.

Scott Gray, UK general manager for Seatronics, said: “We continually strive to offer our clients innovative and efficient subsea technology solutions. The Dynamic Laser Scanning Skid is a key addition to our global rental fleet, providing our clients with high precision data capture and vast scan coverage in a single calibrated package that reduces complexity of equipment mobilisation.”

'Revolutionary' imaging technology

Mitcham Industries, USA, has announced that Klein Marine Systems, a division of Mitcham, has developed a “revolutionary”, new patent-pending technology called MA-X that is anticipated to redefine ocean imaging.

Traditional sidescan sonar imaging creates a nadir gap in the centre of the image. This gap in data requires overlapping survey lines which leads to significant additional survey time to achieve 100% coverage.

“For the operators of AUVs, this translates into extended mission duration,” said Mitcham. “Traditional ‘gap-filler’ solutions tend to be expensive or of low image quality. A cost-effective gap-filler solution has long been sought by the industry.”

MA-X is essentially the next generation of sidescan sonar whose arrays are physically mounted at an angle relative to the towfish or AUV platform. In this way, each narrow fan-beam is oriented at a downward and forward-grazing angle, resulting in an acoustic track over the sea bottom that starts from the port and starboard side and extends diagonally forward across the nadir ahead of the platform. MA-X allows for seamless imaging of the entire swath, including the nadir area, according to Mitcham. Klein believes this technology will provide unmatched image quality and an estimated 40% increase in the coverage rate and survey efficiency, the company said.

Guy Malden, co-CEO of Mitcham, added: “In our opinion, MA-X represents a paradigm shift in seafloor imaging. We believe it to be a cost-effective, attractive and low-risk gap-filling sonar solution capable of being immediately adopted on AUVs of all sizes – even in conjunction with other manufacturers’ sonars, including SAS.”

Next-gen smart hydrophone: icListen Kayak

Canada-based Ocean Sonics has announced the introduction of the first in a new generation of smart hydrophones, the icListen Kayak.

The company said: “The icListen Kayak provides the features of the icListen smart hydrophones that users are familiar with, including bandwidth covering 10Hz to 200kHz, 24-bit resolution, very high sensitivity and built-in processing. Kayak, however, provides these features in a much smaller, lower power, cost-conscious and scalable way.”

Ocean Sonics said the icListen Kayak is versatile and modular with more connection options than ever before. USB, serial and Ethernet connections are all possible for the hydrophone, “making it the simplest hydrophone to deploy, connect and process underwater sound”.

“Developed with autonomous underwater vehicles, remotely operated vehicles and gliders in mind, icListen Kayak is ultra-low power and extra small, drawing only 0.2 watts and measuring only 23 millimetres in diameter,” the company said.





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