iXblue, a designer and manufacturer of advanced navigation, imagery and subsea positioning solutions, said it has joined forces with Forssea, a robotics startup that develops autonomous docking underwater technologies, to bring more agile and cost-effective subsea operations.
Combining Forssea’s Atoll, an observation-class remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) that offers autonomous docking capabilities, with iXblue’s DriX offshore going unmanned surface vessel (USV) and its Gaps ultra-short baseline (USBL) embedded gondola, both companies are now offering a new method of long baseline (LBL) transponders array deployment and calibration.
The new solution uses Forssea’s Atoll light-size autonomous docking system, designed to deploy and recover loads (up to 1 ton) from light opportunity offshore vessels, combined with iXblue’s DriX, a versatile USV offering outstanding endurance and unrivaled seakeeping performances. Using iXblue’s launch and recovery system and advanced autodocking capability, DriX can be deployed from any lifting device in sea states up to level 3. Thanks to its embedded Gaps pre-calibrated inertial navigation system (INS) and USBL acoustic system with field-proven box-in capabilities, this new solution provides flexible, robust and highly accurate calibration.
Forssea CEO, Gautier Dreyfus, said, “Both our companies are very dynamic and strive to come up with innovative solutions that challenge how traditional operations are being conducted. By combining our complementary approaches, we have come up with a revolutionary solution that will bring down operational costs while offering more flexibility to our customers.”
The agile solution does not require heavy logistical support and provides up to 70 percent savings compared to traditional methods, according to iXblue. Stored into containers, all assets can be easily shipped to any operation in the world at very short notice and can be used from any light opportunity vessel equipped with a crane and with reduced crew on board.
“From an operational point of view, using iXblue’s DriX with its Gaps USBL gondola combined with Atoll from Forssea, offers companies big cost savings opportunities,” said Régis Mortier, Technical Expert and former Kaombo Survey Manager. “For instance, in the case of an LBL deployment, one could use a PSV [platform supply vessel] instead of using an LCV [light construction vessel] which makes a big difference.”