During the last few years, significant interest in autonomous and unmanned vehicles has developed within the survey community. Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USV’s) are being considered for tasks such as data gathering in waters considered too shallow for manned vehicles and in areas presenting hazardous operating conditions.One example is the United States Geological Survey (USGS) USV from Sea Robotics Inc. with a suite of survey equipment including an EdgeTech Side Scan Sonar and an integrated EdgeTech Full Spectrum Sub-bottom Profiler. The USV also has a GPS, Radio Frequency (RF) communication system, along with an ADCP, single-beam echo sounder and a low-cost heave-sensing system. The system is to be deployed on a USGS/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) project to survey oyster beds in the Apalachicola Aquatic Preserve.
The high-bandwidth RF communications allow operator interaction for data monitoring and validation, navigation and control, or alternatively the USV can be operated in a totally autonomous mode. Mission plans are developed using the Sea Robotics mission-planning tools or through a comprehensive planning and data-analysis package from HYPACK.
For more information please visit the following site: woodshole.er.usgs.gov
Other examples of ASV / USV sonar installations can be viewed under the Download tab.