Leading underwater service provider Hibbard Inshore has recently deployed its newest hybrid vehicle from SAAB Seaeye. The Sabertooth is a hybrid ROV / AUV that is able to travel up to 20km+ (tethered) and operates with up to 12 hours of battery life (untethered). Whether the vehicle is in AUV or ROV mode, it is capable of holding station and altitude while maintaining stability. Because of this ability, it allows for a single vehicle platform to perform advanced survey, inspection, and light intervention tasks.

With its excursion range of 20 km+ and depth rating to 1,200m, it can embark on either long-range programmable missions, or under operator control around set targets. It can perform obstacle avoidance while surveying in autonomous mode, can perform sonar target tracking and has precise maneuverability while under pilot control, allowing it to perform survey functions as well as the inspection of complex structures.

The Hibbard Inshore Saab vehicle also can be fitted with sensing packages to make it extremely well suited as a long distance, tunnel inspection vehicle. In these scenarios, the vehicle can use its resident Phins inertial system along with both forward looking and profiling sonar to collect high-density data in fully flooded tunnels while moving at speed.

The data can be used to detect features of interest such as open cracks, loss of tunnel material, sediment or debris build up, and issues with tunnel liners. 3D maps can also be created to show changes in sediment levels and changes in tunnel dimensions when compared to as-built drawings or previous survey data.

The vehicle also has the advantage that where operating space is tight, the Sabertooth’s 360 degree maneuverability and six degrees of freedom control means that it can orient itself and maintain stability in any position including completely vertical allowing it to move through shafts or over grades while attending to its light intervention work, survey or inspection task.

By combining the abilities and technologies of both AUV and ROV vehicles into a single unified resource, the Sabertooth is a versatile tool allowing survey, verification, and intervention projects to be completed quickly and efficiently.