Author: Ioseba Tena – Global Business Manager – Marine Robotic Systems

Not just another two-man portable AUV

A new AUV is being launched today at Oceans 2018. It is an AUV that we at Sonardyne are very excited about. It stands to change the game.

General Dynamics Mission Systems’ new Bluefin-9 combines many of the features that make its larger cousins a success, but, in a highly portable form factor. Operated from a rigid hulled inflatable boat, it can be easily deployed and recovered without the need for cumbersome launch and recovery systems. Once in the water, some of its instruments, supplied by us, make it unique:

Nano AvTrak 6 OEM: Our smallest transceiver, capable of providing communications and tracking. Using our 6G acoustics protocol, the Bluefin-9 can handle two-way communications with its users, enabling real-time monitoring and control with minimal impact on the size, weight and power (SWAP) budget. Using this technology means your AUV can run for longer.

Solstice Multi Aperture Sonar: Our Solstice makes the Bluefin-9 the most effective mine-hunting and hydrographic AUV of its class. At  a 200 metre swath, the range is longer than any other sonar targeting the two-man portable market. Additionally, the along-track resolution outperforms all competitors, all while consuming very little power. Not only can you run longer, you can gather more, better data.

With these innovations, we are certain that users are going to have an easy decision when it comes to procurement. After all, if you buy an AUV for its data, why wouldn’t you want the best data?

What can we expect from Solstice on the Bluefin-9?

Improved area coverage rates (ACR), for a start. ACR is a common requirement for customers looking to qualify an AUV’s performance. Typically, this is a simple formula that considers the swath of the payload sensor on board the AUV and the AUV’s speed. This number doesn’t mean much unless we can quantify the quality of the map that is generated (i.e., we are not just interested in range, we are interested in the effective range). That’s where Solstice excels. Its effective range is longer than any other side scan sonar on the market and comparable to synthetic aperture sonars (SAS).

Lobster Pots on Solstice

By using Solstice, AUVs will be able to map more – and more accurately. It will do so while improving the probability of detections and reducing the number of false alarms. These statistics are vital to help improve the tempo of operations. Better probability of detection means you can focus on the targets that are of the most interest. Reduced false alarms means that you won’t have to identify a contact that looked like a target of interest – only to find it was not.

3D Solstice

I am personally very excited to see the Bluefin-9 go into service and hope you can share my excitement.