Platforms & Autonomy
Oceanids is continuing the successful line of Autosub Long Range AUVs with the development of ALR1500. This all-new platform is capable of deploying for up to three months thereby reducing the cost and environmental impact of delivering science by opening new opportunities for shore-based scientific missions where previously a large research ship would have been required for launch and recovery. ALR1500’s range, sensors and innovative navigation system are redefining the boundaries for over-the-horizon and under-ice exploration.
Oceanids is building on the capabilities of the NOC’s existing Autosub 6000 by developing a second large AUV equipped for high-power, shorter duration under-ice scientific missions. Autosub Long Range 2000 Under Ice (A2KUI) will be equipped with state-of-the-art sonars and imaging systems to enable scientists to create detailed maps and establish habitat characteristics of the seafloor. The vehicle has been designed from the outset to have the redundancy and under-ice navigation capabilities so that it can operate safely underneath vast areas of sea ice or glaciers. Though optimised for 2000m operations, the systems have been designed to withstand pressure at depths of 6000m in order to allow the vehicle to be easily reconfigured to meet changing science needs.
Oceanids is working to replace the variety of platform-specific command and control systems with a standard interface for command-control and data processing for fleets of Marine Autonomous Systems (MAS). This underpinning capability provides the ability for scientist’s to view their data and redeploy their MAS assets to target parameters of interest. This intelligent deployment of MAS fleets will deliver the public benefit of reduced cost and carbon footprint data sets, and will offer opportunities to achieve new scientific understanding. The C2 platform is also designed to offer scientists the ability to provide visibility of their deployments to the wider research community and general public, thereby raising awareness of oceanography and demonstrating UK science in action.
The C2 platform has been designed to be user-friendly and intuitive, yet powerful enough to allow operators to create complex mission plans. The platform also offers an automated piloting infrastructure that reduces the piloting load required for missions with the associated cost savings. The development has been undertaken using an agile approach allowing iterative upgrades to the system to be released throughout the project duration that will progressively be made available to the wider UK community for piloting and monitoring of autonomous assets. This approach allows for the rapid development of automated piloting routines and integration of third-party piloting algorithms for applications using a variety of vehicle types.
The Oceanids C2 workflow for near-real-time data from gliders and recovery data from Autosub Long Range became operational in 2019, including delivery of open data via the web. The system has already been demonstrated in real-world settings including: delivering funded science on the AlterEco project, enabling the Oceanids Sensors trials and a commercial technology demonstration and supporting the Hecla project to develop the Royal Navy’s environmental observing capabilities.