Underwater Positioning & Communications technology for Uncrewed Vessel Operations

Sonardyne’s Underwater Positioning & Communications technology selected by Fugro for its Uncrewed Vessel Operations

Leading geo-data specialist Fugro has chosen Sonardyne’s underwater positioning and communications technology to support its global fleet of uncrewed surface vessels (USVs) and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). 

Fugro will integrate Sonardyne’s Mini-Ranger 2 Ultra-Short BaseLine (USBL) positioning system, configured with the company’s Marine Robotics software extension pack, into its new 12 m-long Blue Essence USV, of which the first vessel will be delivered to Fugro’s base in Perth in February.

Mini-Ranger 2 with the enabled Marine Robotics pack will allow the Blue Essence to be used to deploy, track, command and control the Blue Volta electric remotely operated vehicles (eROVs) and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) as part of inspection, survey and data harvesting projects, all controlled from Fugro’s onshore remote operations centres.

Construction of further vessels that will bolster Fugro’s global footprint are under way at SEA-KIT’s bespoke facility in Tollesbury, UK, where integration of the Mini-Ranger 2, complete with hull-mounted acoustic transceiver will take place.

Mini-Ranger 2 is ideal for use from small vessels, including USVs, where survey-grade positioning performance is required. It can simultaneously track 10 targets at very fast update rates, is quick to install and has a standard operating range of 995 m, extendable to 4000 m. Sonardyne’s Marine Robotics software pack unlocks valuable additional capability when used with a compatible subsea vehicle mounted instrument such as AvTrak 6. This includes secure data exchange and remote control of multiple AUVs deployed in swarm scenarios.

Ivar de Josselin de Jong, Global Solution Director for Remote Inspection at Fugro, says: “The integration of Sonardyne’s positioning system into our unique remote inspection offering, which combines the Blue Essence USV with the Blue Volta inspection eROV, is key in supporting Fugro’s strategy to lead the development of remote and autonomous solutions for a safer, more sustainable and more efficient approach to the construction and maintenance of marine assets. Our fleet will deliver an entirely remote-controlled inspection solution for the first time in history and this will play a pivotal role in the rapidly growing offshore wind sector.”

Graeme Buchanan, Sales Manager with Sonardyne in Singapore, says: “We’re pleased to be continuing to support the ongoing transition towards increasingly remote and uncrewed operations across all marine sectors. Enabling entirely remote-controlled inspection with solutions such as our Mini Ranger 2 is delivering safer, more sustainable and efficient operations across the ocean space.”