Untethered Autonomous Operation Capability for Commercial ROVs

Greensea Systems demonstrated that an ROV outfitted with its OPENSEA Edge software was able to search, classify, map, and inspect during a mock EOD mission while being untethered By Phoebe Grinter / 24 Mar 2023
VideoRay in Untethered Autonomous Operation
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Marine robotic software developer Greensea Systems, Inc. has completed a demonstration of its untethered autonomy for ROVs.

Using a commercially available Defender ROV from VideoRay, outfitted with batteries, acoustic modem, and the new OPENSEA Edge system, Greensea has successfully proven untethered operation of an ROV at sea.

OPENSEA Edge puts processing power at the edge, right on the robot, where it can work directly with sensors to process data onboard, eliminating the need for a topside computer via the tether. 

This dual, parallel NVIDIA edge platform runs Greensea’s open architecture software, OPENSEA, and handles the sonar and video perception feeds while providing autonomy, navigation, communications, and task management for the robot.

Once the need to send all of the data, all of the time to a topside computer was no longer necessary, data could reside on the vehicle, sending only the most crucial pieces of information for a human operator to supervise. Reducing the amount and frequency of data being transmitted means that a lower bandwidth/higher latency communication method, such as acoustic modems, could be used.

Greensea was able to demonstrate that a VideoRay Defender outfitted with OPENSEA Edge was able to search, classify, map, and inspect during a mock Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) mission while being untethered. Operators supervised the autonomous ROV through Greensea’s EOD Workspace user interface for defense applications.

VideoRay Defender with OPENSEA Edge
VideoRay Defender with OPENSEA Edge

Greensea also utilized its proven Safe C2 (standoff command and control) technology to provide seafloor to over-the-horizon communications. This enabled the supervision of the ROV over very low bandwidth and very high latency-sparse data connections by an operator using a tablet.

“Eliminating the tether, surface ship, and onsite operator from ROV operations presents the opportunity for the industry to realize a new era of working in the ocean”, said Ben Kinnaman, Greensea CEO. “In this concept, our reach into the ocean is infinite and presence persistent. This demonstration shows that it is possible, affordable, and enabling.”

In addition to VideoRay being the vehicle partner in this test, Greensea partnered with SeeByte, Inc. for the Automatic Target Recognition (ATR) on OPENSEA Edge, and OceanComm, Inc. for the acoustic modem solution.

Greensea continues to develop OPENSEA Edge for both defense and commercial use, and will be demonstrating the latest developments along with Safe C2 at Ocean Business in the UK, and Offshore Technology Conference, Houston, TX.

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Posted by Phoebe Grinter Unmanned Systems Technology’s digital editor and copywriter Phoebe takes a fresh and enthusiastic approach to researching, writing and posting the latest unmanned technology updates, and in managing the UST social channels. Connect & Contact