HUGIN Autonomous Underwater Vehicle
Preparing HUGIN 4500 Autonomous Vehicle for survey work - Photo: Gjengangeren
As the only Autonomous Underwater Vehicle in the world, HUGIN can survey the seabed at depths
down to 4500 metres and can locate small objects under water where other technology
does not stand a chance. With the ability and expertise to industrialise advanced
technology and market the products at the international level, KONGSBERG
has helped ensure that the autonomous underwater vehicle HUGIN has become a success
in commercial and military markets alike.
Collectively, the HUGIN has surveyed and covered a distance of more than 120
000 kilometres on the seabed for offshore survey companies. That corresponds to
a voyage roughly three times around the equator! The ocean floor has been surveyed
in the run-up to the development of Åsgard, Snøhvit, Ormen Lange and most of the
world's other deepwater oil fields. The world's largest survey enterprises, Fugro
of the Netherlands and Geoconsult of Norway, operate HUGIN vessels all over the
Surveying the seabed at a depth of 4500 metres
HUGIN just before diving - Photo: Gjengangeren
Moreover, the US enterprise C & C Technologies of Lafayette, near Houston, Texas,
in the process of buying its third HUGIN, a HUGIN 4500.
"HUGIN obtains such high quality data from the seabed that we can give the oil companies
detailed maps all the way down to depths of 4500 metres", reports Pete Alleman,
responsible for seabed surveying at C & C Technologies. The company has used HUGIN
to map the seabed for oil companies that operate in West Africa, the Gulf of Mexico,
Brazil, Mediterranean and in Australia. In addition, they use HUGIN to check on
installations that are already installed under water.
This autumn, the brothers Pete and Dave Alleman of C & C Technologies visited
Horten, Norway to accept delivery of the company's third underwater vehicle. To
help our customers operate the vessels more easily, Kongsberg Maritime invited customers
to take part in the assembly and testing of the HUGIN.
Best in depth test
Returning from survey
KONGSBERG is the only player in the commercial market that can supply
autonomous underwater vehicles for surveying the seabed down to a depth of 4500
For C & C Technologies, the autonomous underwater vehicles have been an unconditional
success. Just 5-6 years ago, they put their proprietary technology on the shelf
and chose to focus on KONGSBERG's HUGIN AUV 3000 (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle).
They never regretted that decision.
"HUGIN is better, faster and less expensive than any other underwater vehicle.
It maps the details of the seabed at half the price and one quarter of the time
of other underwater vehicles", reports Dave Alleman, responsible for procuring the
In addition to HUGIN providing significantly more accurate surveys, the autonomous
vessel is much faster.
"What we used to spend 2 to 3 weeks surveying now takes just five days with the
HUGIN. This helps us economise on development projects and installations on the
seabed", says Dave Alleman
HUGIN was developed in collaboration with the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment,
the Royal Norwegian Navy, Statoil and Kongsberg Maritime. This cooperation was initiated
in 1995, and in 1997 the first HUGIN was used commercially in the North Sea. In
2004, the first prototype of the HUGIN 1000 was installed on the KNM Karmøy for
military application (mine hunting).
"HUGIN is a so-called autonomous vessel. This means that it can be operated on
its own without being remotely controlled from a surface vessel. For navigating
and surveying the seabed, the HUGIN is equipped with a number of different sensors
such as a gyroscope and accelerometer for inertial navigation, a Doppler log to
measure the vessel's speed relative to the seabed, and one or more multi-beam sonar
systems for surveying and photographing the seabed, as well as a hydroacoustics
positioning system (HIPAP)", recounts Karstein Vestgård, head of the AUV Department
at Kongsberg Maritime.
Not only does the new HUGIN AUV 4500 dive 1.5 kilometres further down to survey
the seabed down to a depth of 4500 m, the technology has been improved further.
"For example, we have increased battery capacity by 30 per cent and installed
more advanced sonar and echo sounder systems with higher resolution and more accurate
measurements", points out Vestgård.
No innovation without industrial expertise
In the commercial market, HUGIN represents a major improvement in the efficiency
and precision of the survey material that the companies deliver to the oil companies.
For the crew aboard the mine hunter, the HUGIN creates a sense of safety on the
KNM Karmøy. With the vessel on board, they create a distance between themselves
and potential mines. Moreover, the time needed to find mines and to determine the
type of mine has been reduced considerably," says Vestgård
"Even though new technology has been the driving force in the innovation process,
HUGIN would not have been a world leader on the commercial market and an ambassador
for Norway in NATO's struggle against underwater mines without considerable industrial
strength", points out Rolf Arne Klepaker, head of the subsea division in Kongsberg
"Industrialising the product and having an established international customer
network in which to market the product are decisive to creating innovation", he
Developed for civilian and military markets alike
The special thing about HUGIN is that it was developed to meet military and commercial
"The two markets have had and have mutual benefits from each other. The commercial
market would not have been big enough in itself, and it would not have engendered
sufficient profitability for Kongsberg Maritime", concludes Klepaker.
Both Klepaker and Vestgård recognise new opportunities for HUGIN on the commercial
and military markets alike.
"We have great faith that oceanography and environmental monitoring will be new
and important markets for HUGIN, with special emphasis on the High North. Moreover,
most of the advanced navies have programmes on the use of HUGIN-type technology
that represents a very interesting market opportunity within the military market",
underlines Klepaker, who forecasts a bright future for the HUGIN.