Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) has accepted a proposal from the Marine Environmental Research Lab for Intelligent Vehicles (MERLIN) at Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) and is providing funding towards upgrades for their EXPLORER AUV as part of their Responsive AUV Localization and Mapping Project.
This project focuses on developing AUV technologies to meet the demands of a growing commercial AUV market. This will allow ISE to maintain its position as a world leader in underwater vehicles technology and will also enable MUN to increase its capabilities in the area of underwater vehicles.
Together with Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC), ISE will develop and integrate an automatic target recognition and adaptive mission control system. This system will allow the EXPLORER AUV to locate targets such as mines and alter its mission to more closely examine and positively identify the targets.
As part of the joint R&D project, ISE is also working with the National Research Council’s Institute of Ocean Technology and DRDC to develop a Kalman Filter with a Concurrent Mapping and Localization (CML) System. CML is the near real-time process of obtaining feature or bathymetric data from payload sensors which is then used on the same mission as a position reference against which new data can be compared. This will greatly increase the EXPLORER AUV's navigational accuracy.
ISE will assist in the integration of these developments in MUN's EXPLORER AUV which will be upgraded with an inertial navigation unit, multibeam system sonar, and sidescan sonar.
These developments will greatly benefit all participants by increasing their knowledge base, attracting researchers, and providing them technology that they can commercially utilize. It will also enable the Government of Canada to improve the competitiveness of the Canadian subsea industry.