A remotely operated vehicle (ROV) called SuBastian, built by the Schmidt Ocean Institute (SOI), will be positioned and navigated using acoustic and inertial technologies supplied by Sonardyne.

SuBastian should provide scientists from around the world with new opportunities to explore and study the ocean. Capable of diving to 4,500 metres, the vehicle has been equipped with new equipment package that includes a reconfigurable payload skid for deploying and recovering experiments, a 4K ultra-high definition camera capable of streaming live video to the surface and a comprehensive suite of scientific sampling sensors.

When the ROV enters service this summer, it will be operated from SOI’s research vessel, Falkor, which has been operating with Sonardyne’s Ranger 2 USBL acoustic positioning system since 2012.

SOI and Sonardyne worked together to configure an integrated navigation solution for SuBastian. This resulted in the supply of a SPRINT Inertial Navigation System (INS), Syrinx 600 kHz Doppler Velocity Log (DVL) and a Wideband Mini Transponder (WMT), all of which is compatible with the Falkor’s existing Ranger 2 topside hardware.

SuBastian is now one of the first research vehicles in the world to benefit from Sonardyne’s recently introduced Syrinx DVL. DVLs are an important element of any ROV’s navigation system as they enable the vehicle’s velocity and distance travelled to be measured. When tightly integrated with INS, acoustic and depth observations, a true estimate of the vehicle’s position can be calculated.

Kim Swords, senior application engineer with Sonardyne in Houston, said: “SuBastian is the first vehicle in the world to be equipped with a full spread of our Ranger 2 USBL, SPRINT INS and Syrinx DVL technologies. We’ve worked closely with SOI to configure the optimum subsea navigation solution for SuBastian so that when it begins to acquire data for the international science community later this summer, it will do so with the highest precision possible.”

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