Issue 40 Unmanned Systems Technology October/November 2021 ANYbotics ANYmal D l AI systems focus l Aquatic Drones Phoenix 5 l Space vehicles insight l Sky Eye Rapier X-25 l FlyingBasket FB3 l GCS focus l AUVSI Xponential 2021

46 M aarten Ruyssenaers, founder and CEO of Aquatic Drones, observes that while there is a growing demand from authorities and companies who manage coastal, harbour and river structures and waterways for data, there is also a growing shortage of personnel qualified to gather and interpret this data. That means costs are rising, especially when the survey areas are further offshore, and is a problem that the company aims to solve with its Phoenix 5 USV, a small, electrically powered autonomous workboat. Ruyssenaers also sees a need for a USV that is small enough to operate in restricted or shallow waters, and which fits the typical working patterns of dredging and port construction, for example, in which survey teams work for 8-10 hours a day but may need only 2 hours of survey time. He points out that it is impractical and very expensive to hire a manned boat with one or two personnel for such a short operational period, while it is much cheaper and easier to keep a small USV on hand. Being an all-electric vessel, the Phoenix 5’s carbon footprint is small and its local emissions are zero, although there is a diesel generator option for longer missions. Sustainability is a growing advantage to big corporations and SMEs alike in bidding for contracts, Ruyssenaers adds. Hull design Tim Hope, Aquatic Drones’ engineering and quality manager, says the company’s focus on survey operations led it to design the vessel around the sensor payloads, driving the specification for a boat of a certain size, weight and drag characteristics to power through the Peter Donaldson investigates this marine survey USV, which has been designed around a variety of sensor payloads Sensor sensibility October/November 2021 | Unmanned Systems Technology Aquatic Drones’ Phoenix 5 is a small, electrically powered autonomous workboat developed for inshore, harbour and river survey work (Images courtesy of Aquatic Drones)