Kraken Sonar gets $1.47M for autonomous underwater vehicle program
The AUV platform will test newly developed AI algorithms for vehicle autonomy, machine learning, non-linear missions and automated target detection.
Kraken Sonar has announced that is will receive $1.47 million from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) to help support its underwater robotics program.
The non-refundable financial contribution will be used to help the Newfoundland-based company develop a technology demonstration platform.
The first phase of the program will utilize the Munich-based Fraunhofer Institute’s DEDAVE Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) as the base platform. The AUV will be enhanced with hydrodynamic, control system and payload upgrades.
The DEDAVE’s current primary payload is Kraken’s 6000m depth rated AquaPix MINSAS-60 Synthetic Aperture Sonar. The MINSAS-60 will be upgraded to an AquaPix MINSAS-120 with Real-Time embedded SAS processor (RTSAS), increasing the area coverage rate to 2 km2 per hour at 3cm x 3cm resolution.
These upgrades will enable onboard, real-time sonar data processing, image mosaicking and on-the-fly 3D seabed mapping. A new underwater laser scanner will also be integrated to provide sub-millimeter resolution and full color, georeferenced 3D point clouds.
According to the Kraken, the AUV’s mechanical structure and hydrodynamic design will enable new payloads, increasing hydrodynamic efficiency while supporting unique new features. Adding multiple tunnel thrusters will allow for a hovering capability and upgrades to the vehicle’s control system architecture will provide station-keeping, path-following and precision maneuvering for stationary target inspection.
The AUV will also be used to test and evaluate newly developed artificial intelligence algorithms for vehicle autonomy, machine learning, non-linear missions and automated target detection.
“We sincerely appreciate the continued support and assistance from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) to help us further penetrate the $600 million AUV market,” says Karl Kenny, Kraken’s President and CEO.
AUVs are no longer a niche technology, but have emerged as a viable solution for military and commerical operations, Kenny explains.
“Given the recent shift in industry focus from AUVs being platform/hardware-centric to becoming sensor/software-centric, we believe there is significant potential for further growth. By combining our advanced sensor technologies with cutting edge artificial intelligence algorithms, it’s our objective to deliver a cost-effective AUV solution that is truly autonomous as opposed to being simply automated.”