Page 29: of Marine Technology Magazine (June 2019)

Hydrographic Survey: Single & Multibeam Sonar

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T e game has changed

Of shore Survey Vessels are Ready for Faster Sensors

By Jamie Sangster, CEO, LeeWay Marine n 2009 I wrote a thesis on the use of unmanned sys- are increasingly con? dent in the data harvested by these ma- tems for defense applications. At that time, the three chines. I watched real-time as Kraken Robotics’ KATFISH buzz words of “dull, dirty and dangerous” dominated (towed synthetic aperture sonar, SBP, MBES) was hovering the narrative about what they are used for. Those words 10m above the ocean ? oor, being towed at 8 knots and cap-

Imade perfect sense in the context of military applica- turing high resolution imagery of a never-before-discovered tions where value is quanti? ed in the effectiveness with which wreck in the North Atlantic. I watched the faces of experi- the mission is executed: you locate an explosive mine over the enced hydrographers who couldn’t believe the level of auto- course of several hours searching without risk to humans and mation associated with post-processing and the speed with with less margin for human error. Fast forward 10 years, now which the product could be delivered to the client. So, given in the role as CEO of LeeWay Marine, I am again evaluating the operational ef? ciencies robotics can inherently deliver, robots, but from the perspective of ? nding a commercial solu- one would expect them to be the panacea to satiate any off- tion that offers a competitive edge. shore infrastructure developer’s hunger to ? nd ef? ciencies

LeeWay owns and operates survey vessels from the Center in survey operations. Yet, as we monitor the offshore survey for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE) in Dart- market, one need only check AIS Marine Tracker in various mouth, Nova Scotia, Canada. COVE is one of several ocean proli? c survey regions to see… same ol’, same ol’ large ? oat- technology hubs in Atlantic Canada (Canada’s four eastern- ing hotel/survey vessels shepherding around a precious sonar most provinces including Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova head about the size of a dinner plate. To be clear, that’s exactly

Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick) and, there- what we at Leeway still do! fore, we are immersed in a community which is hell-bent on developing the latest and greatest (sometimes not) ocean Barriers to innovation technology. We see it, mobilize it, launch and recover it (if Why is it, with such great survey robotics on the market, all goes to plan) and evaluate its effectiveness for commercial do we ? nd ourselves “in irons”? Having debated this issue at use. AUVs, towed robotics, synthetic aperture sonars, multi length with many broad-minded industry experts, one of the beams, acoustic sources, acoustic arrays, mine hunters, sub- classic lines is that ship owners/survey companies have too marine hunters, oil hunters, ? sh trackers, ROVs, drop cam- much capital tied up in vessels and other survey assets. This eras, UxVs; the list is endless, and we love every second of it. introduces signi? cant reluctance to move aggressively towards

In light of that, I can postulate over this robotics conundrum robotics. While there may be some truth to that, I would argue, with a reasonably experienced and increasingly discerning based on my observations, that large multi-national survey eye. I know with certainty how important unmanned systems companies are in fact the early adopters of this technology, will be in the geosurvey ecosystem of the future, I also know in? uencing and enabling their use in a broader market. From that the end clients (oil and gas producers, offshore wind farm my observations, squeezing the remaining value from existing owners, IT companies, national hydrographic agencies, etc.) ships is not why ocean robotics are making a slow entry to the

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