Established techniques for gathering that data are often expensive and time-consuming, though – making unmanned survey acquisition platforms one of the priorities for the sector.
It’s one of the reasons we’re working with Exeter-based marine innovation experts HydroSurv on a pioneering project that will develop a pair of unmanned surface vessels (USVs) for carrying out environmental monitoring and surveys.
Building on HydroSurv’s first-phase prototype, the Unmanned Surface Vessels for Rapid Environmental Assessment in Challenging Inland Waterways and Tidal Environments project also involves partnership with Reygar and Core Blue, suppliers of control and communications systems respectively.
The Catapult will work in partnership with the consortium to develop the first-generation vessels, creating two new integrated USV systems: one for inland waters and a larger vessel for more extreme tidal and near-shore environments.
During the project, multiple demonstrations will be carried out at a variety of sites, including a tidal energy project off the Isle of Wight, showcasing the versatility of the USVs for environmental and site characterisation campaigns. Adaptable payloads will be selected to feed back accurate, bankable data in turbulent, high-current waters.
The Catapult will carry out design work on the new masts, and our hydrodynamic modelling team will be analysing the data gathered to create high-value outputs for end-user clients. We’ll also be helping HydroSurv to commercialise its USVs and better understand their applications in offshore renewables.