Boston-based subsea robotics company Dive Technologies has concluded sea trials of Kraken Robotics’ miniature synthetic aperture sonar (MINSAS 120) integrated onto Dive’s large displacement autonomous underwater vehicle (DIVE-LD).

Photo of the DIVE-LD with Kraken MINSAS120 (Courtesy of Kraken Robotics)
The DIVE-LD with Kraken MINSAS120 (Courtesy of Kraken Robotics)

Sea trials lasted from 29 March to 8 April 2021, and were conducted in shallow water and very shallow water environments in and around Buzzards Bay in Massachusetts, and Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island.

Due to COVID travel restrictions, Kraken Robotics’ personnel provided support remotely throughout the integration and sea trials with the DIVE-LD, which was equipped with the company’s pressure tolerant batteries.

Immediately following successful sea trials, Dive was also able to conduct a number of customer demonstrations for commercial and defense customers, the company said.

Kraken’s MINSAS is a commercially available off the shelf configurable Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Sonar (SAS), which replaces high-end side scan sonar systems, while delivering higher resolution, range, and area coverage rates (ACR).

The increased range and resolution and associated higher ACR of SAS over traditional systems offers a powerful capability when combined with the long range and endurance of the DIVE-LD, according to Kraken Robotics.

David Shea, Kraken Robotics’ senior vice president of engineering, said: “We are excited to see Dive equipping their AUVs with Kraken’s ultra-high resolution imaging and mapping capabilities, a milestone which also represents the 20th unique vehicle platform that has been successfully integrated with Kraken’s Synthetic Aperture Sonar.

“Within a short number of days, the Dive team had their vehicle in-water and collecting high quality sonar data, processed in real-time onboard the AUV. The high stability of the DIVE-LD has proven to be an excellent platform for the MINSAS 120 payload, and the open architecture and free flooded design allowed for simple and flexible payload mounting options”.

Bill Lebo, Dive Technologies’ co-founder, said: “Following our previous successful sea trials with Kraken’s batteries, our team was keen to continue the positive momentum in our vehicle development with integration of Kraken’s latest generation MINSAS 120 sonar system. Over seven days we completed 30 missions and collected 1.3 TB of sonar data, processed in real-time onboard the AUV.

“The incredible imagery produced allowed our team to quickly locate and identify a variety of objects in the testing area. The use of Kraken’s removable data storage module, the DataPod, also enabled us to demonstrate time-critical data exfiltration at the conclusion of the test missions”.

Kraken Robotics and Dive Technologies entered into an agreement in August 2020 whereby Kraken agreed to supply subsea batteries for the DIVE-LD.

Under the terms of the agreement, Kraken Robotics also acquired a license to build two DIVE-LDs for use in its growing Robotics-as-a-Service (RaaS) business.

Production of Kraken Robotics’ first DIVE-LD is currently underway with the first unit being manufactured in the United States. The company expects that it will be delivered to its Unmanned Maritime Vehicle Facility in Nova Scotia for sea trials in summer 2021.

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