The AUV being deployed for a deepwater trial.

UTEC’s AUV completes its deepest dives offshore Australia (Video)

UTEC, part of Acteon, has completed trials for its Gavia autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) in Western Australia, following upgrades and the addition of new modules.

The AUV being deployed for a deepwater trial. Source: ACTEON / UTEC

The trials come as the AUV underwent significant upgrades and the addition of new modules including the subsea ultra-short baseline (USBL) helping the vehicle internal navigation system (INS) positioning.

This advancement eliminates the need for the vehicle to surface periodically to update its internal position and account for INS/DVL drift. 

As a result, this allows the vehicle to remain submerged and on its task for the entire 12-hour mission endurance, as well as the use of the full 1,000-meter depth rating. 

Earlier, the necessity for the vehicle to resurface to update its real-world position using the Global Positioning System (GPS) restricted its operational depth to 100 meters. Anything deeper was deemed inefficient due to the time spent diving and resurfacing for position updates in deeper waters, said the firm.

The trial involved testing the AUV’s reconfiguration and offering additional training to the local crew, assisted by UTEC’s AUV specialists from the UK.

“The day resulted in several milestones for UTEC in terms of AUV operations with these officially being the deepest dives that we have completed with the Gavia,” said Paul Barry, Country Manager – Australia, UTEC.

“It was also the first time the AUV has been positioned with USBL aiding. We are looking forward to assisting further clients with their deepwater survey and positioning requirements.”

After the training and trials performed since the AUV’s arrival in Perth at the end of 2022, UTEC finalized a program of upgrades and enhancements for the system, which include the integration of INS/Doppler Velocity Log (DVL) modules (PHINS C3 and Pathfinder DVL), battery modules to extend mission endurance from six to 12 hours, cNode USBL modules and nose cone for USBL tracking, helping acoustic communications to the AUV and including a new eight-megapixel camera in the nosecone. 

Furthermore, there are also upgrades to the control modules, including calibration of depth and sound velocity (SV) sensors, along with a firmware upgrade.

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