Unmanned Systems News

New Class of Untethered Underwater Observation Vehicle Launched

Published: 14 Oct 2021 by

New Zealand-based Boxfish Research and Norwegian partner Transmark Subsea have launched a new class of underwater observation vehicle, the ARV-i.

The Autonomous underwater Resident Vehicle (ARV) has been developed as part of a joint venture and employs innovative technology to enable continuous monitoring of underwater assets. The ARV-i has applications within a range of offshore industries including energy, oil and gas, wind farms and aquaculture.

New Class of Underwater Observation Vehicle Launched

ARV-i offers users operational flexibility and is configurable for fully autonomous self-piloting or manual control. It may be deployed for months underwater when operating as a resident vehicle. A proprietary subsea docking station facilitates wireless battery-charging and transfer of data from vehicle excursions. Prior programming and onboard intelligence enable the ARV-i to navigate the underwater terrain, locating and observing assets autonomously when in resident mode.

In addition to incorporating Transmark Subsea’s cutting-edging underwater power and communication technology, the ARV-i benefits from the innovative features of the Boxfish ROV platform.

The lightweight, low-profile vehicle weighs only 25kg allowing operation in small spaces, while the eight-thruster design offers advanced stability and manoeuvrability. ARV-i delivers unparalleled observation quality in the underwater environment with up to 6 machine vision cameras, a 4K navigation camera and 17,000 lumens of lighting.

High-speed optical and acoustic communications enable remote control of the vehicle. A manual piloting mode using live video or a digital environment twin is available for the ARV-i if onshore staff require direct control. Additionally, 4K video stored on the vehicle facilitates 3D modelling capability.

The ARV-i is an untethered solution, but it may also be configured with a fibre-optic connection if a higher quality video stream is required. Implementation using a subsea Tether Management System allows uncompressed 4K video streaming and faster data transfer.

The new class of underwater vehicle was launched at Ocean Business 21, the ocean technology exhibition and training forum held on 12-14 October 2021 in the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, UK.

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