UV Operation System

 

The Underwater Vehicle (UV) operation system allows for operating the Vehicle at the depth of 6,000 meters.

 

The UV Control and Steering System is required to operate the Vehicle at the selected depth. We are considering three basic variants of the UV operation:

1. Telecontrol through a fiber optic cable to a floating buoy, by means of which the operator on the base vessel will operate and steer the Vehicle.
2. Automatic control with the operator’s adjustments, if necessary, in a distant control mode, subject to a signal transmission delay.
3. A network of seabed and “way” stations – beacons for the transmission of signals throughout the depth and the entire mining area.

 

We are also considering a possibility of using all these systems in combination, with a back-up purpose.
All the systems will be tested and fine-tuned in the experimental vehicle.

 

The control over the UV operation may be conducted from two mobile control points.


The first control point comprises the equipment for the Underwater Vehicle operation: an interferometric sonar locator with lateral visibility, a frontal echo sounder, a sonar locator with all-round visibility and a multibeam one, as well as a profilograph. These systems are designated to collect topological data for the Vehicle movement control purposes.

 

The navigation system is equipped with an on-board satellite system and a sonar system. A balanced Doppler-inertial on-board system makes it possible to make adjustments with the help of data from the Doppler log, where the Vehicle speed varies relative to the ground and water. These data shall allow maintaining the depth level required to carry out mining operations. A DPRS system is used for the above-water movement of the Vehicle. The sonar navigation system allows identifying the Vehicle location relative to bottom beacons.

 

There is a possibility to use functions included into the standard WAAS/EGNOS GPS configuration for surface navigation, Iridium Satellite connection and wireless connection to the local network for data transmission purposes. The acoustic modem is used for communication and status update while the Vehicle is under the surface.

 

The second control point may be installed in the Underwater Vehicle in order to fulfill any task with the use of videos from the Vehicle video cameras.

 

At the upper side of the Underwater Vehicle there may be a platform for various types of underwater manned vehicles (whose operational depth is about 6,000 meters). The platform may be equipped with a data transmission system to transfer the data to the underwater manned vehicle, from where the vehicle is operated “manually” with the help of a video image. The underwater manned vehicle is capable of surfacing together with the Underwater Vehicle, or independently using the emergency ascent program.

 

There is also a series of sensors that may be applied for various purposes: AutoTrackerSeeByte for autonomous view of the ocean bottom, a sonar with lateral visibility, a camera, bathymetry bar, ADCP, various environmental sensors for such parameters as sound velocity in CTD, O2, back scattering optic sensors and workload user modules.

 

Among the navigation capabilities there is a DVL, automated INS, LBL and USBL. They assist in operating control over the UV speed and height over the bottom; they also measure the chain pitch, the length of the sagging portion of the chain, the distance between the chain run-out points.

 

The UV is equipped with the emergency ascent system. In case of any failure of software used to operate the Vehicle, any connection disruption or mechanical troubles, the Vehicle receives a command to start surfacing: all the pumps of the power units start to operate for the Vehicle surfacing. Even in case of breakdown of one of autonomous power units, the remaining units will ensure the Vehicle surfacing.

 

In case of emergency, the Vehicle uses its standby power unit equipped with accumulators; the unit drives the engines that make the Vehicle start its surfacing.

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