Inside Unmanned Systems

APR-MAY 2017

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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56 unmanned systems inside   April/May 2017 AIR & MARINE ENVIRONMENTAL Planet Ocean and its partners are in the final phases of developing a system for rapid, low-cost environmental assessment that launches and recovers micro underwater vehicles from an autonomous surface vehicle. by Renee Knight Photos courtesy of Planet Ocean W hen the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) first approached Planet Ocean Ltd about developing a micro autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) for under-ice research, the sensor and battery technology necessary to make it happen just wasn't available. That's no longer an issue. In 2015, U.K.-based Planet Ocean received funding from Innovate UK for a system that launches and recovers multiple micro AUVs autonomously for rapid environmental assess- ment. Planet Ocean partnered with NOC, the University of Southampton and ASV Global for the two-year project, which is currently in its testing phase and slated to wrap up at the end of the summer. During the project, BP International be- came familiar with the work and asked Planet Ocean to develop a special version of the AUV tailored to their specific needs, Planet Ocean Managing Director Terry Sloane said. BP was interested in a slightly larger AUV with more payload capacity and enhanced capabilities, such as the ability to work in deeper water for applications like offshore drilling and explo- ration. They also wanted a system with more comprehensive oil and water sensors and pipe tracking capability. The team developed that AUV, known as the ecoSUBm, in about eight months—while still working on the AUV for the Innovate project. That AUV is called the ecoSUBµ, and both will be sold by ecoSUB Robotics, a spinoff of Planet Ocean. SWARMING THE SEA ecoSUB-μ hand launch.

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