Author: Derek Lynch, Global Business Manager, Marine Vessel Systems

The maritime world is going through a period of massive change. Major new environmental regulations and requirements, digitalisation and the continuing moves towards autonomous shipping operations are driving innovation.

SMM StandThese were all key topics at the SMM exhibition and conference in Hamburg, which is always a key meeting place for the industry where tens of thousands come to hear about and discuss the latest trends, projects and products in the industry.

Our heritage at Sonardyne is a deep knowledge of underwater acoustics, inertial and free space optics, and we are continuously using these core building blocks to provide new solutions to the marine and offshore industries as they move into new territories, be it uncharted waters or unmanned operations.

NOAS screenshot

Take our latest NOAS, or Navigation and Obstacle Avoidance Sonar, which many visitors to our stand took a keen interest in. It’s our small form factor, easy to integrate, low-power forward looking active sonar system. It actively builds a 3D image of the seabed and submerged objects ahead of the vessel, to warn mariners – or even unmanned vessel systems – of potential hazards, from wrecks, rocks, reefs and sandbanks to ice-bergs or shipping containers.

Using NOAS brings intelligence to the bridge by using our unique computer aided detection (CAD) capability, which automatically analyses the sonar returns and tells you when and where there are large objects in the water ahead of you, out to 1,500 metres in open water. It also has easy to set depth alarms and, when an alarm does sound, you can seamlessly switch to 2D or 3D mode, instantly giving you a detailed picture of your surrounding environment, including a clear visualisation of water depth and seabed topography out to 600 metres in front of you. It can also show you a detailed view of the track you have recently taken.

SMM Stand 3Many of those who viewed NOAS at SMM were highly impressed by the incredible detail the system is able to show, as well as its small form factor, making it suitable to install on almost any vessel type, from smaller luxury pleasure boats to mega yachts, cruise liners, oil and chemical tankers and even autonomous surface and underwater vehicles. You can read a full feature about NOAS in our latest Baseline magazine, here

Many of our visitors were also interested to hear about one of our latest development projects, AutoMINDER (Autonomous MarIne Navigation in Denied EnviRonments). The Innovate UK supported project, conducted with our development partner Guidance Marine, a Wartsila company, is intended to extend the integration of existing position sensor platforms with INS (inertial navigation systems) to include data from subsea velocity logs and surface laser and radar ranging systems. The objective is to provide viable positioning and navigation solutions for ships and autonomous vessels operating in complex marine environments even when access to GNSS is denied. You can find out more about the project here.  

These are just two of the systems we have developed for the maritime industry. We already offer a wide range of positioning, navigation, communication, monitoring and imaging solutions to marine vessel operators, including station keeping, motion sensing, shallow water manoeuvring, security and underwater tracking systems. With our expertise and technical capabilities, we’re ready to design new systems to meet your specific needs.

Get in touch with us if you would like more information.