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Manufacturer equips submarines with rugged tablets

November 11, 2020  - By

Triton Submarines — famous for underwater explorations including that of the Titanic — has replaced large, outdated computers onboard with rugged tablets. Each sub is equipped with two Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 tablets to monitor depth, light, voltage, gases and alarms, as well as input data and run analytic software. On the surface, a Toughbook 54 is used for tracking and communication.

Photo: Caladan Oceanic

Photo: Caladan Oceanic

Integrated GPS receivers simplify mapping, allowing teams to plot the location of a vessel in real time. “We use the GPS receiver inside the Toughbook 54 for positioning of the surface boat to aid in tracking of the sub,” said Patrick Lahey, president of Triton Submarines. “The GPS receiver works very well. The update rate, time to first fix, and accuracy allows the boat to have a good fix while moving, and for a quick restart during operations at sea.”

Photo: Caladan Oceanic

Photo: Caladan Oceanic

Once the sub is submerged, it loses all radio communications including GPS. An underwater positioning system based on acoustics is used instead, Lahey explained. The USBL system uses a surface base station mounted on a boat and GPS to determine its location. Then, using an array of acoustic transducers, it sends a ping to the sub and the sub pings back. The surface unit then measures the travel time to each transducer to find the sub’s position.

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