Last week Iain travelled to Portugal to join up with the Royal Navy to deploy their ecoSUBm5-Power+ Scout AUV, featuring a brand new Nortek Nucleus DVL-1000, Power+ module for extended endurance and 1200kHz side scan sonar system from Marine Sonic Technology. The AUV was also equipped with sensors for conductivity, temperature and fluorometer for Chlorophyll-a, a nano-modem for underwater communications and an independent pinger system.
REPMUS is a NATO exercise featuring robotic systems being operated underwater, on the surface and in the air. The Royal Navy's Project HECLA team took a range of autonomous systems to operate within the program. The ecoSUB AUV missions were relatively limited due to a lack of support boats during the window of operations, but great to see it complete a couple of small, but perfectly executed missions, with the new Nortek DVL providing an excellent aide to navigation.
One of ecoSUB's recent customers have installed a transit and launch facility in their Hydrogen fuel cell powered XLAUV for multiple ecoSUBu5 micro-AUVs. At 4kg and maintaining a cylinder rule, the ecoSUBu5 is ideal for autonomous launch systems such as this. The ecoSUBu5 has previously been launched by uncrewed surface vehicles and fixed winged aerial drones, so launch by a mother-ship AUV completes Air, Surface and Underwater autonomous deployment - a first for an AUV system.
Launch of the ecoSUBu5 happened on 15 July 2022 as part of a demonstrator mission, where the micro-AUV transited to the surface and sent a status message to the users command and control center.
More information can be found here:
The NEW ecoSUBm5-Power+ AUV out on trials
One of our most recent ecoSUB AUV customers, Dr Adrian Nightingale, based at University of Southampton is currently recruiting for a PhD. This exciting opportunity involves the development of chemical sensors to be integrated on an ecoSUBu5 AUV platform.
For more information please check out: https://www.findaphd.com/phds/project/an-ocean-alkalinity-sensor-for-autonomous-vehicles/?p139668if
Iain and Ayana from the ecoSUB team joined Matt Taylor and Oban Jones from the autonomous systems group at Plymouth Marine Laboratory to spend the day running some missions with one of their ecoSUBm5 AUVs. The group at PML are preparing to do some seabed video surveys using their ecoSUB AUVs and were running some trial missions. Iain and Ayana tagged along to share experience and provide support.
Iain and Alex were working from a beach in Southampton yesterday, running missions with the ecoSUBm5-Hydrocarbon Sniffer AUV, our low cost platform available with the Seabird Scientific SeaOWL sensor for oil in water detection and a Valeport CT sensor for conductivity and temperature.
The missions were run to allow colleagues from Oil Spill Response Limited (OSRL) and Blue Ocean Monitoring the chance to see the vehicle up close and appreciate the speed of data availability. As part of the work, OSRL received full data sets immediately after each mission and integrated it into their mission control platform for data visualisation. This process was tuned during the day and allowed full output within minutes of a mission finishing.
The ecoSUB AUV demonstrated its ease of use, ability to be operated with very little infrastructure and performed perfectly, completing all missions and providing useful data.
Really great to see that staff at the Scottish Association of Marine Science (SAMS) in Oban have been putting their ecoSUBm5 AUV to excellent use.
Students have been using the ecoSUBm5 as part of the Robotics module. Aim: setup, ballast, problem solve, setup mission, deploy, data download and process etc.! What a success.
One of the parameters we have been asked about most regularly is pH. We are now delighted to announce that the ANB Sensors S-1000 pH sensor is available as a payload for the ecoSUBm5 AUV, it can be combined with a range of payloads including Conductivity, Temperature, Chlorophyll-a, Turbidity and Dissolved Oxygen to offer an excellent Science class set up for our users.
The S-1000 pH sensor is a high accuracy sensor with initial accuracy of +/- 0.05 pH and is calibration free. It samples once every 23 seconds whilst on mission and can provide a useful tool in measuring ocean acidification. Software integration and mechanical design are complete and we look forward to providing this to many ecoSUB users in the future.
Unfortunately we don't have any photos of this configuration yet, but below is a rendered image of an ecoSUBm5 with the flow tube and exhaust visible for the S-1000 pH sensor, along with a Sea-Bird Scientific three channel Chl/CDOM/BB sensor, Valeport CT sensor, Water Linked DVL and nano-modem.
Iain, Alex and Ayana finally got the chance to get out on the water this month, after what seems like a long time! We spent the day out on the Plymouth Quest helping James Fishwick and colleagues at PML capture some footage of their new ecoSUB AUVs for the Marine Tech Expo event. If you missed the Marine Tech Expo, catch up with it here
Keep up to date with news from the ecoSUB Robotics team