Detailed geophysical surveys are required in both deep and shallow water to avoid potential hazards and to provide for the installation and safety of fiber optic telecommunication cables. Unfortunately, data obtained in potential burial zones with existing technology are slow and often data accuracy may be questionable. Towing cabled or tethered survey systems, from a project perspective, is time consuming and provides marginally adequate data. Additionally, a launch is usually required to survey between the surf and the safe working limits of the survey ship. This requires additional equipment that is weather sensitive and subject to failure. To address this problem, C & C Technologies, Inc. of Lafayette, Louisiana, USA has contracted with Kongsberg Simrad for the construction of a Hugin 3000 autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV). C & C Technologies’ Hugin 3000 AUV, which is to be delivered in July of 2000, will be integrated with a variety of sensors including high frequency multibeam swath bathymetry and imagery. Other survey sensors include chirp side scan sonar, chirp sub-bottom profiler, and magnetometer. Vehicle positioning will be provided by a USBL acoustic positioning system, integrated with Doppler speed log, an inertial navigation system, and for surface operations, DGPS. AUV power will be delivered by aluminum oxygen fuel cells. This paper will address AUV operations, platform performance, sensor specifications and integration, project milestones, and system economics with regards to cable route surveys.
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