Scout USBL is a complete vessel based acoustic underwater tracking and positioning system designed for tracking divers, ROVs and towfish in waters up to 1,000 metres. The system calculates the position of a subsea target by measuring the range (distance) and bearing (heading) from a vessel mounted transceiver to a small acoustic transponder fitted to the target; a technique known as Ultra-Short BaseLine (USBL) positioning. USBL is widely used by the offshore survey and ocean scientific industries as it offers high accuracy performance combined with efficient underwater tracking operations.

One of the main advantages of the USBL technique is that no other in-water acoustic equipment has to be deployed before underwater operations can commence. Only the targets being tracked need to be equipped with a transponder. With Scout, a boat can arrive on location and begin underwater tracking straight away. This has particular benefits for search and salvage applications when search times are critical. the Lodestar, making the system robust and resilient to communications issues. Lodestar maintains a rolling 15 day backup of all real time navigation and raw data on an onboard SD card which can be retrieved if required. Coupled with concurrent logging of all data by the topside software, data integrity is ensured.

Scout product family – Underwater Tracking

Three versions of Scout USBL are available: Scout, Scout Plus and Scout Pro. Scout and Scout Plus are entry level systems designed for general target tracking applications at ranges up to 500 metres. Scout can track one surface vessel and four subsea targets whilst Scout Plus can track six targets and incorporates a Responder mode. This enables the system to calculate a target’s position at a much higher update rate, ideal for fast moving vehicles such as ROVs and towfish.

With both versions, all sensors and hardware are provided whilst the software is simple to learn and intuitive to use. These features make Scout and Scout Plus the ideal solution for users with little or no prior experience of acoustic systems.

Scout Pro is designed to support complex construction survey applications through its fully featured software. It provides greater accuracy, tracking for up to 10 subsea targets and a 1,000 metre design slant range. The advanced topside control hardware supplied with Scout Pro systems enables experienced users to operate using Sonardyne’s Wideband digital acoustic signal technology. The benefits of using Wideband include greater immunity to noise interference and a ten fold improvement in measurement repeatability.