October 8, 2021

Render of the ARV-i in operation underwater (Image: Boxfish Research / Transmark Subsea)

Render of the ARV-i in operation underwater (Image: Boxfish Research / Transmark Subsea)

In October, a new class of underwater observation vehicle, the ARV-i, will be launched at Ocean Business 21. New Zealand-based Boxfish Research and Norwegian partner Transmark Subsea developed the autonomous underwater resident vehicle in a joint venture. The technology enables continuous monitoring of underwater assets with application to a range of offshore industries, including energy, oil and gas, wind farms and aquaculture.

ARV-i offers users operational flexibility and is configurable for fully autonomous self-piloting or manual control. It may be deployed for months underwater when operating as a resident vehicle. A proprietary subsea docking station facilitates wireless battery-charging and transfer of data from vehicle excursions. Prior programming and onboard intelligence enable the ARV-i to navigate the underwater terrain, locating and observing assets autonomously when in resident mode.

In addition to incorporating Transmark Subsea’s underwater power and communication technology, the ARV-i benefits from the innovative features of the Boxfish ROV platform. The lightweight, low-profile vehicle weighs only 25kg allowing operation in small spaces, while the eight-thruster design offers advanced stability and manoeuvrability. ARV-i delivers unparalleled observation quality in the underwater environment with up to six machine vision cameras, a 4K navigation camera and 17,000 lumens of lighting.

High-speed optical and acoustic communications enable remote control of the vehicle. A manual piloting mode using live video or a digital environment twin is available for the ARV-i if onshore staff require direct control. Additionally, 4K video stored on the vehicle facilitates 3D modeling capability.

The ARV-i is an untethered solution, but it may also be configured with a fiber-optic connection if a higher quality video stream is required. Implementation using a subsea Tether Management System allows uncompressed 4K video streaming and faster data transfer.

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