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Remus AUVs for Marine Research Applications

AUVs have revolutionized marine and ocean exploration. What was once an expensive, limited endeavour completely reliant on surface vessels is now accomplished by AUVs, or self-powered undersea robots that gather high-resolution remote spatial and temporal measurements.

AUVs offer a nimble, flexible alternative to traditional surface vessels. They can glide close to the surface, dive to depths of more than 6000 meters, explore shallow waters or hover in hazardous areas where navigation is difficult. The benefits are numerous. AUVs have reduced the high costs of ocean exploration and sampling while increasing the availability, quality and quantity of scientific marine data.

Primary Applications

  • Marine Biology
    Fisheries Research & Habitat Mapping: HYDROID AUVs are used for monitoring and tracking the world’s fish population, including measuring the impact of over-fishing, habitat destruction, pollution and toxin levels, as well as determining how to increase the fish population.
    The vehicles can be outfitted with the best research sensors on the market, the SIMRAD EK60 Scientific Sounder, as well as acoustic fish trackers, ECO pucks, dissolved oxygen optode, nitrate analyzers, conductivity and temperature, depth and radiometers. Combine these data-collection tools with a wide range of sidescan, bathymetry and bottom-mapping sonars and the AUVs can provide a complete system for even the most demanding fishery or habitat environment.
    Overfishing, climate change and other factors have led to a decline in fish stocks around the globe. Scientists are searching for a better understanding of fish habitats and their associated environmental characteristics in order to reverse this trend. Combining KONGSBERG’s vast experience with fisheries sonars and mapping sonars, these AUV product lines can offer fully integrated solutions. Policy makers, scientists and researchers use the resulting benthic maps to make informed decisions that help protect fragile coastal areas.
    Aquaculture: Aquaculture farmers and regulators are primarily concerned with the quality of the water in which seafood farms cultivate fish. REMUS 100 and Seaglider man portable AUV systems are the ideal tools for monitoring water quality and analyzing nutrients as these farmers address the demand that commercial fisheries cannot meet.
  • Physical Oceanography
    Climate Change: The oceans are a leading indicator of climate change; they are both affected by climate change and in turn affect the climate. Physical oceanographers use AUVs to study these changes and assess their impact on our future, including in the harshest environments on Earth – the poles and the deep ocean. The AUVs offer technologies and capabilities that can access these previously unreachable areas and collect the highest-quality data.
    Ocean Observatories: Ocean observatories are platforms designed to study the ocean and answer fundamental questions about how the planet works. These observatories allow scientists to collect data passively over long periods of time to gauge how the Earth, the ocean and the atmosphere are evolving. Ocean observatories pose one of the most technically challenging applications for an AUV, as they require vehicles that can stay underwater for months at a time, routinely dock and undock, recharge energy, collect and download data, and change mission patterns. REMUS 100 and 600 AUVs are perfectly suited for all these requirements.
    Under Ice: The Arctic region is a key area of exploration for understanding the Earth’s climate, and in particular, the effects on the ocean water and the sea ice itself. The challenge for scientists is how to access and observe the areas under the ice. Enter KONGSBERG and HYDROID AUVs, which reliably provide the technology and operations to collect the highest-quality data in this harsh environment. In addition, when preparing for under ice exploration, the smaller the hole in the ice the better. The man-portable REMUS 100 is ideally suited for this particular application.
  • Environmental Monitoring
    Emergency Response: AUVs are an ideal tool for oil spills, pipeline leak detection and inspection. They can also be utilized for post oil spill missions to measure hydrocarbons in the water column. AUVs can be deployed rapidly from vessels of opportunity, or a dock, making a rapid response to any emergency situation simple.
    Water Quality: HYDROID AUVs can record temperature, salinity, turbidity and current as standard. They can also be equipped to detect algal blooms, dissolved oxygen, various gasses and particles in the water. Much of this data is collected during every mission. Dives can be planned to map thermoclines and pycnocline in 3 dimensions with return surveys for comparison providing temporal awareness.
    Ecosystem Assessment: Larger AUVs are sometimes used for fish stock assessment surveys and can be equipped with acoustic sensors to detect and quantify fish, krill and plankton. The standard acoustic sensors and cameras provide point source and non-point source tracking and 3D views of water columns and are useful for benthic habitat mapping. Volumetric calculations using synthetic aperture data provide a unique way to assess coral.
    Limnology: Limnology, also called freshwater science, is the study of inland waters such as lakes, ponds, rivers, springs, streams and wetlands. It includes both fresh and salt water present in man-made or natural forms. The AUVs are perfectly suited to this application, as they can be controlled from the shoreline and operated in shallow water.
  • Marine/Geology Investigation
    Marine Archaeology: AUVs have revolutionized marine archaeology exploration. Thanks to the AUV’s endurance and modularity, researchers can now investigate larger geographic areas over longer time periods than ever before. What’s more, the AUV’s payload and mission flexibility allow the same vehicle to complete large-scale reconnaissance searches and high-resolution site investigations. Because the AUVs are customizable with an almost endless variety of instruments, archaeologists are guaranteed the right tool for the right mission
    Deep Sea Ecology/Seabed Investigation: HYDROID AUVs has led the world in sea bed investigation for 15 years, in part because of their ability to seamlessly integrate navigation, vehicle and sonar technologies. AUVs offer sea bed researchers the ultimate tool in efficiency and capability. The AUV can be positioned at the optimal height off the ocean floor, enabling it to gather high-resolution data that surface vessels cannot. The AUV can also operate independently, allowing the surface vessel to complete other missions simultaneously.

Advantages

The units are modular, allowing scientists to change the on-board instruments or payloads to better suit their needs; they can be operated from a vessel of opportunity, dedicated research ship and even the shoreline; and they can be used to explore open water or formerly inaccessible locations such as abyssal plains or under polar ice. Whether conducting an oceanographic investigation of a water column or a geophysical study of the sea bed, KONGSBERG and HYDROID AUVs allow researchers to achieve multiple objectives in a single dive.

Sensors can be placed close to the area of interest. Coupled with high quality navigation solutions this ensures the data is both meaningful and accurate.

They are quick and easy to deploy around the world, and most units require minimal installation and calibration, thereby reducing ship time and research assets.

The endurance of an AUV allows the vehicle to investigate a larger area for a longer period of time. In addition, the potential to network multiple AUVs together can increase productivity to levels never seen before in marine research.

R&D Efforts

The R&D efforts of KONGSBERG and HYDROID have focused on enabling AUVs to operate multiple payload sensors simultaneously, as this is the real advantage AUVs offer over traditional survey methods. In addition, researchers have spent more than 15 years on lowering the platform’s signature (electrically, acoustically and magnetically), as well as carefully selecting payload sensor frequencies and managing their synchronization. The result: Marine or fresh, pelagic or benthic, photic or aphotic, KONG SBERG and HYDROID AUVs are uniquely equipped to gather high-quality data in a wide range of ocean environments.

AUV Models

HYDROID AUVs offer flexible configuration options for adding new sensors and back seat driver solutions as well as an open interface. The REMUS AUV is available in three models: REMUS 100, REMUS 600 and REMUS 6000. The lightweight and compact REMUS 100 is designed for shallow water work up to 100 meters; the mid-range REMUS 600 can operate in depths of 600 or 1500 meters; and the deep-water REMUS 6000 workhorse operates in water up to 6000 meters deep.

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