Applied Acoustic Engineering launched its latest USBL tracking system at Ocean Business in Southampton, UK, in April. The new system, Easytrak Nexus, represents the latest in a series of innovative developments in subsea acoustic tracking by the company. Now incorporating Spread Spectrum Technology, Nexus combines its high accuracy performance with versatility and ease of operation.
The rack-mounted Easytrak Nexus determines the position of a dynamic subsea target through the transmission and reception of acoustic signals between the submerged transceiver and the target beacon. By incorporating Spread Spectrum Technology, the frequency of the transmitted signal is able to be varied, reducing its susceptibility to interference and enabling the calculation of accurate positioning information. Spread Spectrum Technology also rejects unwanted reflected signals that have made operating in challenging locations such as ports or harbours difficult in the past.
As with all Easytrak systems, Nexus works with a variety of underwater targets and beacon types including Pingers, Responders, Release and Positioning Transponders. Furthermore, Nexus operates in both traditional ‘tone-burst' and new Spread Spectrum modes. The Spread Spectrum (SS) Beacons include an enhanced 1000 Series with a depth telemetry option and a Bi-directional Spread Spectrum version for improved range stability. With low-power consumption the bi-directional Spread Spectrum beacons can be connected to peripheral devices subsea to send back digital data, for example current flow or heading, as well as simultaneously being used as navigation transponders.
Nexus has a built in PC running embedded Windows XP with a solid state HD. The positioning information is displayed on a separate monitor where activity of up to ten subsea targets within a specified operating area can be viewed. These targets can be Applied Acoustics' beacons or those operating in the same frequency range from other sources.