Saab Seaeye, a manufacturer of electric underwater vehicles, has demonstrated a 4D geo-spatial data acquisition system with real-time data visualisation for the company’s Sabertooth AUV. The demonstration was attended by representatives of twelve companies from seven countries, together with the Danish Navy, in Saab’s exclusive underwater test centre at Lake Vättern, Sweden.
This advanced system has been configured for the Sabertooth by Saab QPS, a Saab Seaeye partner and leading developer of hydrographic survey and mapping software. Operators get a complete hydrographic data acquisition, navigation and processing software package that is fully integrated into the Sabertooth. The development unifies the QINSy and Fledermaus systems developed by Saab QPS into a single enhanced option for the Sabertooth.
QINSy is a data interface and acquisition software package that consolidates data acquired from different sensors in real-time. All acquired data can be viewed in various dedicated displays, which is ideal for real-time QA/QC of the data.
Fledermaus analyses and provides 4D visualisation of the acquired data, such as synchronised video, water column analysis, multi-beam sonars and pipe detection sensors.
For the demonstration the Sabertooth was equipped with a high-end sensor suite including side scan sonar, sub bottom profilers, high frequency imaging sonar, multibeam echo sounder and cameras, along with GPS, DVL and inertial measurement unit (IMU) supporting the navigation. Processing of the trajectory data was achieved with an algorithm developed by Saab Dynamics and renown for its navigational accuracy.
One demonstration included an extended autonomous survey mission performed to show the extent of the navigation accuracy and trajectory performance, as well as the quality of the high-resolution sonar images captured.
Another involved a range of autonomous missions in the lake including seabed survey, structure inspection, obstacle avoidance and a docking manoeuvre into an underwater docking station. A fibre link was used to allow live viewing of the data being gathered.
Visitors had an opportunity to examine the Sabertooth, a breakthrough hybrid concept that combines the autonomy and range of an AUV with the manoeuvrability and hovering capability of a light-work ROV – making it an ideal vehicle for long-range missions where there is a need to stop and conduct a detailed task.
Three operational modes are possible: autonomous roaming, attached fibre-optic cable, and umbilical for power and communications.
Fitted with the advanced Saab Seaeye iCON intelligent control system, its behaviour-based architecture offers a decision-making capability that can, in survey mode, react to unexpected data by deviating from a programmed mission to gather data or perform a task before resuming its mission plan.
It is intended that the Sabertooth can be left at deep and distant locations where it can operate from a remote subsea docking station ready to be launched on routine inspection, repair and maintenance work, and deal with emergencies.
At such a remote location, where it might remain for a year, tooling packages can be stored at its docking station where batteries can be re-charged, data and video downloaded and fresh instructions uploaded over the internet.
As offshore operators go deeper and into more difficult to access areas, the Sabertooth Hybrid AUV/ROV concept is attracting interest from those looking for a reliable and versatile underwater vehicle that can accommodate a wide range of data acquisition systems and tooling onto a single platform.
The strategic alliance between Saab Seaeye and Saab QPS bridges the gap between hardware and software development that is bringing innovative technology opportunities to the industry and setting new standards.