The University of Plymouth is working with a pioneering technology business to develop a revolutionary means of gathering data about the marine environment.
HydroSurv is working to develop a range of uncrewed vessels and innovative data capture services that can provide unrivalled and simultaneous surveys of the seabed.
However, the partnership with the University has enabled them to validate an approach using multiple uncrewed vessels to carry out surveys controlled from a single support craft.
The system was tested within the Smart Sound Plymouth offshore proving area using the company’s own autonomous technology and USV CETUS, a C-Worker 4 uncrewed surface vessel owned by the University. This platform is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the University’s participation in the Marine Business Technology Centre (MBTC) project.
Both vessels were fitted with the same technology – a multibeam echo sounder supplied by leading manufacturer NORBIT – and used a complex sonar array to map a three-dimensional view of the seabed to exceptional high resolution.
HydroSurv, which is based near Exeter, now plans to use the method to further its aims of delivering inshore and coastal data acquisition through low-impact and economic autonomous vessels.
Central to HydroSurv’s aims of democratising ocean data for new users, as well as established hydrographic and environmental survey commissioners, is the company’s range of ‘Rapid Environmental Assessment Vessels’ – electrically-propelled uncrewed craft for waterborne data collection within inland and nearshore environments.
The company’s work on the project has been led by Chief Executive David Hull and Survey Manager Robert Moores, a former graduate of the University’s MSc Hydrography programme.