UTEC Survey Inc., of Houston has signed a two-year cooperation agreement with the Oceanographic Research Department of the University of Delaware covering the enhancement and use of the University's Iceland-built Hafmynd 'Gavia' Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) system. Under the terms of the agreement, UTEC Survey will be working with the University to extend the vehicle's current capabilities, as well as deploying the AUV on a global basis to support a range of commercial survey operations.
The AUV - which is known as DORA (Delaware Oceanographic Research Autonomous Vehicle) - is a state-of-the-art untethered vehicle with an Inertial Navigation module which provides a robust solid platform from which underwater surveys and subsea mapping operations can be conducted. These include hydrographic surveys, submarine cable & pipeline routes surveys, inspections, post-hurricane surveys, etc. The system is fully equipped with a combination of side-scan sonar, interferometric bathymetry sonar and digital video camera, all in seperate modules.The syatem is depth-rated to 500 meters (1600 feet), making it well-suited to shallow water operations.
In addition, the vehicle offers a number of advantages over traditional, large-size, deepwater AUVs. At just 9 feet in length and subject to which configuration of modules are deployed, is between 70-180 lbs. The use of separate modules allows easy transportation and deployment. Furthermore, its modular design allows it to be easily customized to meet specific job requirements.
UTEC Survey plans to enhance the vehicle's capabilities with additional equipment that includes a modular SBP (sub-bottom profiler). UTEC will also be working closely with the University's ongoing Research and Development program on the planned incorporation of a magnetometer module capability to the vehicle in the near future.
Director Sales and Marketing, UTEC Survey Trevor Hughes comments: "The ability to use this robust platform to perform detailed surveys, coupled with the additional sensors UTEC will add to the vehicle, will significantly enhance the group's capabilities to provide a highly portable AUV system on a global basis."
"The cooperation between the University and UTEC Survey is a win-win situation", adds Dr. Art Trembanis, Assistant Professor at the Universities Oceanographic Research Department. "The sharing of the university's technological knowledge with UTEC Survey's extensive experience and expertise, enhances our academic program, provides our students with the opportunity to observe commercial operations and applications firsthand, and introduces them to future industry opportunities."