The Scout USBL product range was introduced by Sonardyne to make the benefits of its deep offshore technology accessible to organisations and businesses seeking to accurately track underwater targets in relatively shallow inland and coastal waters such as lakes, rivers, harbours and estuaries. As many of these users have little or no prior experience of acoustic positioning systems, Scout was developed from the outset to be easy to install, set-up and use on almost any size of vessel.
The newly released sales figures show that all three models of Scout are enjoying success. Scout and Scout Plus are entry level systems capable of tracking one surface vessel and up to six subsea targets at a range of up to 500 metres. Recent applications have included tracking a side-scan towfish and positioning divers during the course of an archaeological survey.
Scout Pro is also available as a higher specification system designed to provide complex survey support through its fully featured software. It provides greater accuracy, additional tracking capabilities and a 1,000 metre operating range. This makes Scout Pro suitable for tasks including pipeline inspections, AUV tracking and support for offshore construction.
A Scout system comprises of control software, a vessel-based acoustic transceiver, a surface interface unit and low-cost transponders. The system calculates the position of a subsea target by measuring the range and bearing from the transceiver to a transponder fitted on the target.
To simplify set-up and reduce costs, an integrated motion sensor within the transceiver automatically compensates for the dynamic motion of the vessel. For higher accuracy applications, external reference sensors can be used with Scout; achieving a level of accuracy that is better than 0.5% of the slant range from the transceiver to the target. This level of performance, combined with Scout's competitive price, provides numerous opportunities for users whose restricted budgets may have prevented them from using USBL technology before.