Acoustic Communications and Inertial Navigation Help Crew an Unmanned Fleet of Seagoing Robots

Armada robotic boat, courtesy Ocean Infinity

Armada robotic boat, courtesy Ocean Infinity

Sonardyne acoustic communication and inertial navigation technologies will board a large, environmentally sustainable fleet of ocean-going, multi-role robotic vessels launched by marine robotics company Ocean Infinity. Sonardyne systems will provide part 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, even when GNSS services are degraded or denied.

The Armada fleet will provide sustainable services to all corners of industry from offshore energy, to logistics and transport. The low-emission robotic fleet can be launched from any shoreline. The prototype vessels measure 21 x 36 metres and can perform offshore data acquisition and intervention in both shallow- and deep-water operating regions. The vessels will employ a range of underwater platforms, including remotely deploying autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs).

The Sonardyne 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 systems also provide navigation redundancy in the event of GNSS outages, which could occur while operating in multipath or shadowed environments, such as fjords or near large structures or where signals are deliberately interfered with.