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A9-E AUV demos side-looking sonar

8th November 2016 - 09:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


ECA Group has demonstrated its interferometric side-looking sonar on an A9-E autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) during early trials of the European Smart and Networking Underwater Robots in Cooperation Meshes (SWARMs) project, the company announced on 4 November.

Initiated in 2015, SWARMs aims to expand the use of underwater and surface vehicles in order to facilitate the conception, planning and execution of maritime and offshore operations and missions. The project involves 35 partners from ten European countries over three years. 

As part of early trials for the project, ECA Group’s A9-E AUV fitted with the interferometric side-looking sonar demonstrated its ability to conduct surveys in a shallow water environment of 13-20m depth. A9-E is the configuration of ECA’s man-portable A-9 AUV for environmental monitoring.

The sonar is a phase differencing bathymetric sonar. According to the company, the sonar has increased area coverage by close to 200% over conventional multi-beam echo sounders in shallow water. During the demo, repeat pass surveys were conducted under different headings to assess the repeatability of the bathymetric and in fine the accuracy.

The AUV and sonar was also able to detect a chemical pollutant mock-up target. Detection data was handed over to other ROVs for detailed inspection using forward-looking sonar and optical sensors, including stereovision. A large data set was collected in support of the research objectives of the project which include real-time quality assessment of the bathymetric data using a quality factor provided by the sonar manufacturer and map matching for improved navigation and change detection.

The Shephard News Team


The Shephard News Team

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