Time spent offshore is time on the meter. So, if you could reduce the time it takes you to do your operations, with a simple to use, easy to set up and easy to get right system – with just one software interface – it would be beneficial, right?

That’s just what we thought. So, we have built Fusion 2. It’s a new intuitive software platform from which you can do all your Long Baseline (LBL) and Inertial Navigation System (INS) operations.

It builds on our leadership in LBL operations over the last two decades and incorporates the advances we have made in INS systems. The result is a system that removes the complex interfacing currently required for LBL and INS operations and which has real-time SLAM calibration capability for Sparse LBL operations – and much more.

It’s been a five year journey, culminating in a world tour this Autumn, where we introduced Fusion 2 to our customers in Aberdeen, Baku, Houston, Singapore and Brazil, prior to pressing go on the first release, focusing on LBL aided INS, today.

More will come in April, when we release our full acoustic LBL functionality, so that all you need is one software system for acoustic LBL and acoustically aided INS, reducing setup complexity and greatly reducing your operational monitoring burden.

We’re proud of Fusion 2 and what we think it can do for you. But don’t just take our word for it, hear what some of those behind its development have to say.

Fusion 2 – why now?

Edward Moller, Global Business Manager, Construction Survey: “It’s time to make the software simpler. If you were designing this system from scratch, for LBL INS, you would not design two sets of software. We have listened to customers and built a new Fusion, written from the ground up, which does the work of two systems.

“This approach offers a world of benefits, not least time saving. Set up is easier and faster, it allows real-time SLAM calibration,1Hz Wideband 3 LBL update rates, including your sensor readings, and you need less hardware. Fusion 2 has been designed so that it’s flexible for the future. It’s designed for today’s needs, but also so that future needs can also be incorporated more easily.”

What are the main benefits from an operational perspective?

Simon Waterfield, Survey Support Group Manager: “One of the main benefits of the first release will be around making Sparse LBL operations faster and easier. Fusion 2 also lets you do your SLAM calibration while you survey, significantly reducing survey time.”

Liz van Rossum, Software Solutions Manager: “To do real-time SLAM, a new set of algorithms has been developed to run in the SPRINT INS, using the raw ranges from the beacons (Compatt 6+ transponders). Fusion 2 manages the whole process in real-time.”

Malik Chibah, Engineering Manager: “Fusion 2 also allows configuration of acoustic and INS survey jobs ‘in the office’ prior to on-vessel mobilisation, reducing mobilisation time and helping you to be more sure of your operations. Once offshore, using Fusion 2, SPRINT can initialise with ranges from just a single seabed reference beacon, making operation start-up quicker and simpler. During your operation, it then allows you to dynamically select and change seabed acoustic references during navigation, so there is no need to stop and reconfigure references, supporting uninterrupted survey operations, which is particularly useful for pipeline corridor arrays.”

“Also, Fusion 2 introduces the concept of having separate beacons and seabed stands/locations tables. This feature better matches the reality of most offshore survey operations and allows an array of seabed stands/locations to be calibrated and stored and/or acoustic reference beacons can be changed out, without the need to reconfigure positions, greatly reducing the complexity for the operator.”

Tell us more about the benefits for full LBL?

SW: “LBL operations will benefit from the new level of speed in ranging and telemetry updates created by Wideband 3. The software is able to react faster, using every bit of data it gets as soon as it gets it, and updates the position estimate continuously. Because we can embed telemetry data, such as sound velocity or depth, onto the end of range signals, we also do not interrupt the tracking updates.”

LVR: “Before, if you wanted a pressure reading, while lowering a structure subsea, you had to stop ranging, get the depth or pressure sensor reading, then start ranging again. Now, on the end of a range reply we can embed a telemetry reading with that sensor data using Wideband 3. You can even ask it to send you that sensor data every time you get a range. The information you get will be continuous.”

SW: “For full LBL operations, this means you de-stress and de-risk mobile Compatt tracking, because you can get an accurate position of your 300 tonne structure, which could be hanging off a crane close to the seabed, in real-time. There’s no longer a 10 second wait for your next position, it’s one-second updates, with your depth reading at the same time. Also, positioning and calibrations are done using Earth-centred Earth-fixed (ECEF) coordinates, which means grid scale factors are not an issue. Using ECEF means we are taking into account the curvature of the earth, which results in the positioning calculations and calibrations being real-world.”

Are there other benefits to Fusion 2 and Wideband 3?

MC: “Fusion 2 allows you to get your sound velocity and pressure updates regularly, without a separate measurement cycle, which means you are less likely to see problems your sound velocity, helping you to improve reliability.”

SW: “Multi-user functionality will come as standard with Fusion 2, when we complete the full release next year, so it will be able to support five different users at a time.”

EM: “The full Fusion 2 release will enable you to manage your inventory of beacons and locations in one place, enabling quick and easy review and audit. Compatt configuration can be uploaded from Fusion 2 direct from your iWand, which can then be used to transfer the setup straight into the Compatts before they are deployed so you know the status of Compatts as soon as they get wet. Therefore it all becomes a simpler, faster and easier operation.”

MC: “A key part of the continuing Fusion 2 development is making the monitoring displays intuitive and flexible so that during LBL and LBL INS operations it prioritises the critical information that the surveyor needs to see in order to ensure that navigation quality is within limits or to quickly identify likely causes, if it is outside the limits. This is particularly important for LBL INS operations, where it has historically been challenging to understand the effect of individual aiding inputs on the INS solution.”

What’s the bigger picture – why the need to make everything so easy?

LVR: “Offshore operations are stressful and if something goes wrong, it can be costly. We have listened and learned from our experience with Fusion 1 and have developed a software application that is user friendly and intuitive, with increased troubleshooting ability to make your operations simpler. The industry expects software to be easy to use with a reliable operating system and these have been key goals for us.”

EM: “For those who want to tailor their operations, that’s possible too. In fact, you can do multiple computations, compare different set-ups, and pick the one you want. Sparse LBL might suit one operation more than LBL and vice versa. It’s easy to check, on-site, which works best for you. You can also quickly and easily tailor the user interface to suit your operations – the background theme (for working on deck or inside a cabin) can be changed and you can configure the screen, depending on what operation you are carrying out or what tools you want to use, with a simple drag and drop ability. Fusion 2 also has a remote interface for monitoring position data.

“There is also more to come. In future releases, we’re looking to automate more processes and workflows and enable smarter integration with survey systems.”

MC: “We have been working with leading suppliers of survey navigation systems to provide slicker integration. This is something that’s been planned from the start. An additional benefit here is that as well as position data, associated position quality information will also be transferred to survey navigation packages. We will also be adding simulation and planning support that is carried through into configuration.”

EM: “Our full Fusion 2 software will replace Fusion for LBL operations and negate the need for a separate SPRINT system for LBL INS. You also have the option to use the system for more basic USBL INS operations, so a single system could address all your operational requirements.

“We recognise that our SPRINT software remains a popular system amongst our customers for a number of operations, therefore we will continue to sell and support it, whilst providing flexible upgrade options should you wish to update to Fusion 2 at a later date.”

Contact our survey support team to work out which release will best suit your needs, for more information about each release and what it can offer you.

Fast facts:

Fusion 2 works through our Navigation Sensor Hub (NSH) – the same hub we use for our Ranger 2 USBL system – so you not only need fewer systems on deck and fewer systems in your inventory.

Fusion 2 supports use of our SPRINT 300 for LBL INS, giving you lower start-up costs for practical, reliable LBL INS.

Fusion 2 works with our new digital signal processing protocol, Wideband 3, delivering a major step-up in your positioning update rates; we’re talking1Hz LBL tracking of structures as they are lowered and moved in the water column.

Plus, Wideband 3 allows you to get sensor data at the same time as navigation ranging data, which means operators can get real-time positions and sensor data simultaneously.

Wideband 3 is inside the latest evolution of our trusted 6G platforms – Compatt 6+ and ROVNav 6+ – and is available as an upgrade to existing Compatt 6 and ROVNav 6 systems.