Dutch Survey Company Deploys Autonomous Control System

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Sea Machines Robotics announced Thursday that Amsterdam-based survey company Deep BV will retrofit one of its vessels with a Sea Machines SM300 autonomous control system. The Sea Machines system enables remote command of the vessel, including navigation, positioning and the control of on-board auxiliaries and sensors. The vessel will be commanded by personnel in Deep’s Amsterdam office.  For its first remotely-operated voyage, Deep will deploy the vessel for a mission to survey the Wadden Sea, a shallow body of water with tidal flats and wetlands located north of The Netherlands. With no surveyors on board the vessel for this project, Deep operators will command and control the autonomous vessel and all of its on-board payloads (including survey sonars, hydrophones, winches, cranes and davits) from a shoreside survey control room. “Hydrographic survey is an exemplary use case for our autonomous-command and remote-helm control technologies,” said Sea Machines CEO Michael G. Johnson in a statement. “With Sea Machines installed on board, Deep will benefit from obtaining higher-quality data, more safely and at a more efficient rate with less data overlap.” All of the data collected by the vessel will be transmitted to the control room via 4G and satellite connection. This system should allow Deep to transition from minimally manned missions to unmanned missions in the near future. “The purpose of our survey control room is to offer our clients many possibilities like ad hoc surveys, simultaneous conducted surveys operated by only one survey crew, and multi-purpose use of vessels already available in the field,” said Deep COO Jurgen Beerens. “It offers a time-saving option to increase efficiency and control costs.”