Concept: Royal Navy of the UK has introduced a robotic boat to quickly survey uncharted waters and gather data. RS Aqua and Maritime Robotics have supplied the USV Otter Pro boat to Royal Navy. The USV was tested on Horsea Lake at the Defence Diving School, Portsmouth, UK.
Nature of Disruption: The Otter Pro is a remote-controlled boat that comes with a comprehensive hydrographic and bathymetric survey suite. It is an easily deployable turn-key system used for seabed mapping and monitoring of sheltered waters. The boat has a catamaran design and integrated bathymetric survey sensors for surveying sheltered waters such as lakes, harbors, canals, and other inland waterways. It comes with real-time monitoring capabilities and a modular design that allows additional integration of sensors. Royal Navy received Otter Pro with hydrographic and bathymetric sensors including a Norbit multibeam sonar, embedded GNSS/Inertial INS (Applanix Surfmaster), Ping DSP side-scan sonar. It also comes with an Autocast sound velocity profiling (SVP) winch system used for surveying. Moreover, the USV has a Wi-Fi, 4G, and AIS receiver with a max speed of 6KMPH and 20 hrs of running time.
Outlook: Royal Navy has extensively mapped water around the world. The advantage of mapping waters is that it provides mariners with accurate charts. The problem faced by Royal Navy was that the ocean is not easy to explore, let alone map precisely. The common issues faced are constant erosion, deposition of sediments, earthquakes, changes in sea level, and shifts in currents. Royal Navy used the Otter Pro developed for the surveying purpose in collaboration with RS Aqua and Maritime Robotics. The Otter Pro is introduced in the Royal Navy fleet to refine future operating concepts of USVs in future military surveying applications.