UNMANNED HYDROGRAPHIC SURVEYING IN HAZARDOUS SHALLOW WATERS
Unmanned Survey Solutions are a team of highly skilled surveyors with over 35 years’ experience in the hydrographic survey industry. The company was created in response to increasing demands within the industry for smarter USV’s. Since then, USS design, build, market and operate specialised USV’s for both sale or hire. Achieving and delivering high-order accuracy hydrographic surveys in a range of challenging and hazardous environments for their clients.
USS hydrographic survey vessels provide remotely controlled and autonomous bathymetric surveys in areas where access for a traditional survey vessel is not possible. Areas such as rivers, lakes, lagoons, harbours, mining ponds and other shallow water zones. Each vessel is fully customisable to meet client requirements and can be supplied with specialist capabilities and fitted with multi-operational payload equipment, deploying a range of pre-calibrated sensors to capture high-resolution data. These vessels are easily transported, rapidly mobilised and deployed for any hydrographic, environmental, inspection or reconnaissance works.
Port of Tarragona, Spain (above). The port authority required a bathymetric survey of a shallow river section which flows into the port. Previously uncharted due to its inaccessibility for standard vessels, the Inception Mark I with its rugged design and ultra-shallow mapping capability was in its element. The only feasible site for launching at the Port was a small pontoon, normally used for launching racing class boats. The USV’s lightweight modular design allowed for easy mobilisation and smooth, quick deployment which meant the online survey activities began almost immediately upon arrival at site. Harbours
Newlyn Harbour, Cornwall. Harbours are often a hive of activity, from commercial fishing vessels to leisure craft. A recent survey of Newlyn harbour conducted by USS demonstrated survey challenges typical of small to medium sized harbours, which are frequently intertidal, dense with moorings and berths and accommodate large volumes of vessel traffic. USS vessels’ tight turning radius enabled the mapping of those confined spaces between moorings and berthed vessels, where a standard manned vessel could not be deployed. This allowed for enhanced survey coverage without causing disruption to vessels in the harbour. The USV’s tight turning radius enabled the survey of ultra-shallow zones, maximising bathymetric coverage capabilities and minimising data gaps between land and bathymetric survey methodologies. Lakes
St Stihians Lake, Cornwall. The Inception Mark II combined with full autonomy package and multi-beam survey set-up recently demonstrated its capability and efficiency in large scale lake mapping. The Inception Mark II with autonomy package programmed to run a predetermined line plan was able to remain online and ‘mow the lawn’ even in adverse weather conditions and strong crosswinds for the duration of the survey. In comparison, over the course of mapping a large survey area, the helmsman of a manned vessel naturally tires and would struggle to maintain consistently accurate lines. Pools
Carnsew Pool, Cornwall. USS’s latest online multibeam survey operations were conducted remotely over 300 miles away from the survey site using the Inception class USV Remote Desktop capability. On a howling, wet, windy day in January all survey related procedures were undertaken from a dry and secure office, allowing QC operations to be completed unhindered, instead of having to battle poor weather conditions which could delay works on-site. The live camera feed from the vessel minimises collision avoidance risk and the remote manual control allows the onsite engineer direct pilotage of the vessel should it be required. Settlement Ponds
A series of mining settlement ponds,Cornwall. Mapping of contaminated or hazardous waterbodies has always been challenging for surveyors. The restrictions imposed in the survey areas meant that no personnel or manned vessels were permitted to enter the ponds. The USS USV survey packages allow for a completely remote operation and reduce the risk to human life by eliminating the need for personnel to be present in potentially harmful and hazardous environments. USS has produced a new generation of smarter USV’s that can be operated with remote control capabilities or as an autonomous vessel for ultimate line running and survey efficiency. This allows for greater savings in both time and money. Also reducing risk to personnel and equipment. They are completely customisable to client requirements, supplied with or without specialist capabilities and multi-operational payload equipment which means they exceed industry standards without compromising on quality.