Sending people to sea onboard ships to recover data from ocean sensors, comes with risk, is expensive and creates a significant carbon footprint. But there is a safer, cheaper and greener alternative – unmanned surface vessels (USVs), also known as unmanned surface vehicles.

Advances in seabed-to-surface-to-shore communications, power management, payload sensors and situational awareness, mean that USVs now represent a commercially viable, low-cost, low-risk option to acquire ocean data within coastal and offshore waters, delivering it instantly to where it’s needed, when it’s needed. Our USV Data Harvesting Service is supporting this revolution.

We have experience of working directly with the world’s leading manufacturers of USVs so if you already own or operate a USV, we can enable it for seafloor sensor data harvesting, support you and train your team. Alternatively, we can offer you the complete service, taking care of vehicle selection, logistics, offshore operations and secure data delivery.

Wideband 2 – Delivering your data
Underpinning this capability is our robust, high telemetry rate seabed-to-surface communications capability – Wideband 2. We manufacture a number of different Wideband 2-enabled seafloor sensors, which can be left in situ for up to a decade to autonomously collect, process and store a wide range of parameters from seabed subsidence to structure deflection and plate tectonic movement. Equipped with our Wideband 2-enabled topside instrumentation, USVs are able to efficiently and reliably recover the data stored in these sensors.

The high data rate protocols used by Wideband 2 mean that significant volumes of data can be recovered in a short amount of time, minimising the time a USV has to loiter. If required, harvested data can be immediately QC’d remotely, by engineers onshore, before the USV is released to transit to its next data retrieval location. With our systems on board, the position the seafloor sensor can be verified and reconfigured with a new logging regime if necessary.

Support throughout your mission 
As with any survey operation, planning makes perfect and operating a USV is no different to a crewed vessel. Our engineers work directly with vehicle manufacturers and you to configure power, fabricate bespoke mounting arrangements and customise interface protocols to suit your mission needs.

Sea trials ahead of live operations can be conducted a location of your choosing, or at our own facility in Plymouth, south-west England which has a well-equipped boathouse and workshop large enough for medium-sized vehicles, a private slipway and permanently deployed sensors to test against.

So, if you’re considering how a USV can reduce risk to your personnel, lower your costs, emissions and HSE exposure, speak to us today about what our data harvesting service can offer you.

Whilst you’re here, why not take a look at some of the USVs listed below that have been sent to work with a Sonardyne payload onboard?