Unmanned survey vessel efficiently maps seabeds

November 15, 2020  - By

Sometimes hands-on data collection just isn’t good enough. In the busy Shizuoka harbor, Weichao Liu of CHC Navigation used the company’s Apache6 marine drone to take a bathymetric survey of a channel in preparation for dredging at a Shizuoka seaport. The Apache6 also collected 3D lidar data above the water’s surface.

In May, CHC Navigation launched the 2020 Edition of the Apache6 USV (unmanned surface vessel), which combines a dual GNSS positioning and heading receiver, stable and reliable hull attitude sensors, and an inertial measurement unit (IMU). The CHCNAV GNSS/INS control box maintains high accuracy during transient GNSS outage, according to CHC Navigation, such as providing uninterrupted surveying while passing under bridges.

Just like an aerial drone, the Apache6 has an auto return feature, and like it’s much larger manned brothers, it uses sonic radar (sonar) to avoid obstacles. Its fully autonomous survey mode is powered by CHCNAV absolute straight line technology so that the craft follows a predetermined path even in adverse current conditions.

Besides 3D bathymetric surveys, the USV has been used for positioning of underwater objects, offshore construction, underwater archaeology and wreck salvage. It is equipped with a high-performance single-beam echosounder, and can be installed with lidar to create a combined marine and terrestrial 3D high-accuracy survey in a single pass, such as for harbor and river surveys with height clearance evaluation.

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Feature image: Weichao Liu, a member of CHC Navigation’s technical support staff, prepares to launch an Apache6 unmanned surface vessel, also known as a marine drone. (Photo: CHC Navigation)