Photo: Armada fleet Illustration; Courtesy: Ocean Infinity

Sonardyne kits out Ocean Infinity Armada fleet

Ocean Infinity has selected Sonardyne technology to support its world’s largest and most environmentally sustainable fleet of ocean-going, multi-role robotic vessels.

Sonardyne systems will provide the first wave of Ocean Infinity’s new Armada fleet with key sensor technologies for underwater platform navigation, tracking, control and communications, as well as ensuring uninterrupted surface navigation.

The low-emission robotic Armada fleet, unveiled in February this year, will initially see 17 bespoke designed state-of-the-art uncrewed vessels added to Ocean Infinity’s existing robotics fleet.

The vessels, initially measuring 21 metres and 36 metres long, will be able to perform offshore data acquisition and intervention in both shallow and deep water operating regions. The vessels will use a range of underwater platforms, including remotely deploying autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs).

Sonardyne’s acoustic communication and inertial navigation package includes surface and subsea navigation sensors to remotely support deployment, operations and recovery of underwater robotic systems from an uncrewed vessel, from anywhere in the world. That includes being able to accurately track and control multiple robotics systems simultaneously and provide water current profile information, as well as support vessel dynamic positioning during critical phases of an operation, the company exlpains.

The systems also provide navigation redundancy in the event of GNSS outages, which could occur while operating in multipath or shadowed environments.

Delivery of Sonardyne equipment for the first wave of Armada fleet vessels will take place by the end of this year. Further deliveries should be through 2021.

Alan MacDonald, sales manager, Sonardyne, said:

“Over recent years, we’ve been focussed in Sonardyne on developing the flexible technologies that are required to support the revolution that is taking place in both surface and subsea marine robotics. These systems will help a wide variety of industries to reduce how many people they need to send to sea as well as dramatically reduce CO2 emissions, by deploying these smaller, more efficient vessels out.”

Dan Hook, Managing Director, Ocean Infinity, says,

“Our expert team of robotics specialists selected Sonardyne as the clear choice for our robotics ships, to provide underwater navigation, tracking, control and communications and that additional layer of positioning security in areas where GNSS signals might be obscured. We look forward to a long-term working relationship with Sonardyne, as we grow our fleet.”

Initially, all of the first tranche of Ocean Infinity’s Armada vessels will have Sonardyne’s Ranger 2 Ultra-Short BaseLine (USBL) system augmented by the company’s Marine Robotics Pack. This combination provides remote all-in-one tracking, communications and control capability for underwater deployed robotics.

These robotic vessels will also come with Sonardyne’s SPRINT-Nav hybrid navigation instrument, to provide continuous, uninterrupted navigational aiding to underpin safe remote operations. In addition the system produces profiled water column data, which is particularly important during the deployment and recovery of subsea robots.

Wideband Sub Mini 6+ tracking transponders and SPRINT-Navs will also kit out the ROVs deployed and operated by the Armada fleet.

Ocean Infinity expects the first Armada vessel to be delivered in 2021 and, along with the remainder of the fleet, will be controlled and operated by mariners via satellite communication from onshore control facilities in Austin, Texas, and Southampton, England.

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