Uncrewed Systems Technology 046

113 IM Solutions Monodrone IM 3000 Mk2 | Digest regulations, but work on that is under way. “We are working on a gap analysis to look at what we have developed and what the maritime regulation is requesting, and we will bridge that gap in the Mk3 version,” Manigot says. In the meantime, the vessel operates under special permissions granted on a case-by-case basis, obeying the COLREGs, which are the recognised ‘rules of the road’ at sea. Automating collision avoidance IM Solutions offers several options for situational awareness and collision avoidance. Its basic system relies on a set of cameras that provide a video feed, allowing operators to follow normal COLREGs, while a more sophisticated optional package includes AIS and radar to increase the range at which potential threats can be detected. However, in the near future the company intends to offer what Manigot calls a complete system that will incorporate fusion and AI to provide a semi- autonomous collision avoidance capability. As with most survey USVs, the normal operational team is two people: one to monitor and pilot the vessel, and watch the feeds from the situational awareness cameras; and a qualified surveyor whose main responsibility is to check the quality of the data the sensors are generating. The operators can communicate with the IM 3000 over any of the bearers, but to conserve bandwidth only sensor quality control data and a remote desktop showing the map and basic vehicle data are normally displayed, along with the feed from the situational awareness cameras. However, targets generated by the AIS can be plotted on the survey software. The bulk of the sensor data is stored on board the vessel to be downloaded at the end of the mission over the wi-fi link. Manigot notes that there is minimal interaction between the USV and the operator during a mission, as the IM 3000 normally operates on autopilot to follow the waypoints that define its survey line or pattern. “Operator action is only needed if a dangerous situation begins to develop, such as a potential collision for example,” he says. That, he adds, makes it possible to operate several IM 3000s simultaneously from a single control station. While the IM 3000 is not equipped to launch and recover smaller uncrewed vehicles, it is a capability that IM Solutions’ r&d department is studying, and one that will probably be implemented in the Mk3 version, he says. Care and maintenance Routine maintenance of the vessel between missions is designed to be simple and require minimal tooling, the main points being tightness checks on the propellers and a few other components, as well as careful washing down after use to stave off corrosion. Even though changing the batteries is not normally required, the process is designed to be easy; as such, they are accessed through a wide hatch. However, the batteries are 48 V items that weigh 45 kg each, so they normally remain in place and are replenished by the onboard charger. The moon pool gives easy access to subsea sensor payloads, Manigot notes. “A complete survey set-up, including INS and MBES installation, can be completed in less than a day,” he says. In the near future, IM Solutions plans to extend the sensor suite, adding the ability to tow a small sidescan sonar, a sub- bottom profiler and a magnetometer to offer a full survey portfolio. Uncrewed Systems Technology | October/November 2022 Length: 3 m Survey speed: 2 knots Maximum speed: 14 knots Payload: 65 kg Comms range: 2 km (wi-fi), unlimited (satcom, LTE cellular) Endurance: 12 hours standard, 16 hours with extra battery pack Launch & recovery: dedicated trailer or three-point lift for crane Some key suppliers Acoustic survey software: Beamworx Acoustic survey software: Hypack Sonar systems: EdgeTech Sonar systems: Kongsberg Sonar systems: Norbit Lidar: Velodyne I nertial navigation system: SBG Systems Thermistor string: RBR Battery pack and electric powertrain: Torqeedo Specifications Collision avoidance relies at the moment on the operator maintaining situational awareness, via the cameras for example, but IM Solutions is working on an automated system (Courtesy of IM Solutions/Christophe Le Potier)