Kawasaki SPICE AUVs to sport Sonardyne navigation

Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) has chosen a suite of subsea navigation, positioning and communications technologies from Sonardyne to navigate, track and control its first commercial SPICE autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs).

The SPICE AUV will be using Sonardyne’s hybrid navigator SPRINT-Nav, combined transponder AvTrak 6, as well as Mini-Ranger 2 Ultra-Short Baseline (USBL) system with a Robotics Pack to support tracking and communications during development and testing.

SPRINT-Nav combines the SPRINT INS sensor, Syrinx 600 kHz DVL and a high accuracy intelligent pressure sensor into a single housing, making it one of the smallest combined inertial navigation instruments on the market, Sonardyne said.

“Our goal with the SPICE AUV is to enable operational efficiency of inspection operations, to reduce cost and reduce the burden and risk experienced by crews working on support vessels offshore,” said Noriyuki Okaya, Development & Design section, AUV Department Kobe Shipyard at KHI.

“We believe that Sonardyne’s instruments will support the highly accurate navigation of the SPICE AUV, supporting our goals.”

The SPICE (Subsea Precise Inspector with Close Eyes) AUV, complete with a submerged docking system and robotic arm for non-destructive testing, has been designed for low-logistic pipeline and subsea asset inspection operations down to 3,000-meter water depth.

Two vehicles have already been ordered by Modus Subsea Services in May. The first is expected to be delivered this year and will be used for operations in the North Sea and other sea areas.

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