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Dive Technologies has selected a complete suite of Sonardyne navigation, tracking and control tools for its large displacement DIVE-LD autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), the company announced on 12 January.

DIVE-LD is being developed to meet a wide range of long-endurance mission requirements in the commercial, research and defence sectors. To support long-distance, long-duration navigation, while minimising complexity and payload space consumption, the vehicle is fitted with Sonardyne’s SPRINT-Nav hybrid navigator. For underwater positioning and acoustic communications, it is fitted with Sonardyne’s AvTrak 6 – a combined transponder, modem and emergency relocator beacon all in one. To cover all its concepts of operations, including tracking and communication during development and testing, Dive Technologies has also acquired Sonardyne’s most capable Ultra-Short BaseLine (USBL) system, RANGER 2, with its latest, compact Gyro USBL. The 19ft-long, 48in-diameter DIVE-LD, designed for operations at depths up to 6,000m, is currently in production in the US with sea-testing ongoing in New Bedford.

Founded in 2018, Dive Technologies’ rapid development programme has included support from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and technology partnerships with organisations including the Center for Marine Autonomy and Robotics at Virginia Tech. A key part of the development has been to opt for high-performance, off-the-shelf systems, such as SPRINT-Nav for navigation, allowing the company to focus on building certain customised systems in-house. SPRINT-Nav, available in a range of performance levels, all in the same form factor, also supports Dive Technologies’ focus on mission adaptability, as does RANGER 2.

Tim Raymond, Dive Technologies’ Director of Research and Development, says that RANGER 2 offered a proven platform with a track record across a wide range of use cases, offering flexibility and scalability in functionality and complexity. “With a new development effort underway for Dive Technologies’ DIVE-LD autonomous underwater vehicle, we had a wide range of use cases in mind and needed a single system capable of supporting the various mission sets we had in mind […] We also needed a topside system which could scale in functionality and complexity with our vehicle as we continue to add features and capabilities, from our initial testing where our needs were just tracking and emergency commands, to more advanced features such as USBL aiding and SMS transmission of vehicle and data health metrics […] RANGER 2 is a good fit for both of these needs and it has enabled us to meet our challenging goals of simultaneous development and testing while maintaining consistent and impressive performance even in challenging operating conditions. The system has proven reliable, easy to use, and portable to support mobilisation on a variety of support vessels.”

The wide range of missions [Dive Technologies is] targeting as well as [its] focus on highly-scalable open software and hardware architectures aligns with where we see the industry heading. Our own philosophy has been about integrating and simplifying our systems by utilizing a common platform and software architecture, while also improving performance and offering flexibility and scalability. We look forward to seeing the DIVE-LD performing,” added Sonardyne’s Dan Zatezalo.

Sonardyne’s underwater technologies are supporting Dive Technologies’ large displacement DIVE-LD autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) programme. (Photo: Sonardyne)

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