Geo-data specialist Fugro has ordered Sonardyne’s underwater positioning and communications technology to power its global fleet of uncrewed surface vessels (USVs) and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs).

Sonardyne’s Mini-Ranger 2 Ultra-Short BaseLine (USBL) positioning system will be integrated into its new 12m-long Blue Essence USV, along with the company’s Marine Robotics software extension pack.

In February, the first vessel will be delivered to Fugro’s base in Perth, the company stated.

The combination of Mini-Ranger 2 and Marine Robotics pack will enable the Blue Essence to deploy, track, command and control the Blue Volta electric remotely operated vehicles (eROVs) and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs).

Fugro stated that the new installation will also help in carrying out inspection, survey and data harvesting projects from its onshore remote operations centres.

Additional vessels are being built at SEA-KIT’s customised facility in Tollesbury, UK, where assimilation of the Mini-Ranger 2 – complete with hull-mounted acoustic transceiver – will materialise.

The Mini-Ranger 2 is best suited for use from small vessels such as USVs, where survey-grade positioning performance is needed.

It can keep an eye on ten targets simultaneously at very fast update rates and can be installed easily.

It also has a standard operating range of 995m, which can be extended to 4,000m.

On the other hand, Sonardyne’s Marine Robotics software pack can provide supplementary capability when combined with a compatible subsea vehicle-mounted instrument such as AvTrak 6.

It also enables protected data exchange and distant control of several AUVs deployed in swarm settings.

Fugro remote inspection global solution director Ivar de Josselin de Jong said: “The integration of Sonardyne’s positioning system into our unique remote inspection offering, which combines the Blue Essence USV with the Blue Volta inspection eROV, is key in supporting Fugro’s strategy to lead the development of remote and autonomous solutions for a safer, more sustainable and more efficient approach to the construction and maintenance of marine assets.

“Our fleet will deliver an entirely remote-controlled inspection solution for the first time in history and this will play a pivotal role in the rapidly growing offshore wind sector.”

Sonardyne Singapore sales manager Graeme Buchanan said: “We’re pleased to be continuing to support the ongoing transition towards increasingly remote and uncrewed operations across all marine sectors. Enabling entirely remote-controlled inspection with solutions such as our Mini Ranger 2 is delivering safer, more sustainable and efficient operations across the ocean space.”