Kongsberg Maritime has announced the unveiling of a new Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV), the Sounder, which is a versatile solution designed and built for high-accuracy data acquisition applications.
With the introduction of the Sounder USV System, KONGSBERG strengthens its presence in the expanding market for unmanned vessels capable of carrying out a broad range of tasks. The new USV makes best use of state-of-the-art technology derived from an extensive knowledge base, providing the flexibility to operate in various diverse scenarios.
The Sounder USV System is a multipurpose platform designed to work across different market segments, including survey and fishery duties. It has been developed as a joint venture with Norsafe AS, chosen by KONGSBERG as the project partner for its years of experience in constructing tough and durable craft for use in extreme environments.
As a brand-new platform, the Sounder USV has been configured from the keel upwards to deliver optimal hydroacoustic data quality, efficiency and productivity. Operation of the USV is managed by KONGSBERG’s K-MATE autonomous surface vehicle control system: capable of following survey patterns, autonomously following AUVs or simply tracking a mothership, the K-MATE system has been developed in partnership with FFI, the Defence Research Establishment in Norway. It provides autonomous, supervised and direct control capabilities that are compliant with the latest safety regulations and operational guidance in the USV industry.
The Sounder USV System can be put to work with equal effectiveness across a range of applications to suit the requirements of specific market sectors. It can be equipped with a wide selection of Simrad sensors including SX90 and ES80 fishery sonars as well as KONGSBERG EM2040 multibeam echosounders for mapping and HiPAP positioning and communications systems for LBL (long baseline) and AUV (autonomous underwater vehicle) support. Other sensors can also be integrated, while rapid payload change can be effected as both the moon pool in the base of the hull and the 19” rack hardware are removable.
The Sounder USV System is compatible with launch and recovery systems, making operation from ship or shore brisk and straightforward. With an endurance of up to 20 days at 4 knots, it enables increased productivity at a lower cost.
“More and more businesses, from many categories within the maritime industry, are starting to see the vast and comparatively untapped potential of USVs as a means of autonomously and cost-effectively harvesting enormous quantities of high-quality data,” said Stene Førsund, VP Subsea Sales, Kongsberg Maritime, “and with the highly adaptable Sounder USV System we’re poised to make the widespread availability of top-end data acquisition technology into an affordable and user-friendly reality.”