Kongsberg Underwater Technology (KUTI), a subsidiary of Kongsberg Maritime, has commenced full-scale production of the KONGSBERG Seaglider Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV).
The production, which started from a new fabrication centre at KUTI's Lynnwood facility in Washington, US, follows acquisition of the company's exclusive licence to develop, manufacture and market the Seaglider system from the University of Washington in Seattle in May 2013.
The University of Washington received funding from the US Office of Naval Research to develop the underwater glider.
Developed for continuous, long-term measurement of oceanographic parameters, the vehicle uses small changes in buoyancy and wings to achieve forward motion, instead of an electrically driven propeller.
The vehicle's battery-adjustable ballast is used to control the system's pitch and roll enabling deployment for up to nine months at a time.
KONGSBERG Seaglider is said to be the first vehicle from the new Kongsberg Maritime business unit, Underwater Glider Systems, and can deploy a diverse range of sensors to collect a variety of ocean data.
The KONGSBERG Seaglider team has completed training with the university's Seaglider Fabrication Center personnel.
According to Kongsberg, the facility is also performing refurbishment or upgrade of existing systems, besides manufacturing of new Seaglider vehicles.
Kongsberg's underwater glider systems general manager Rich Patterson said: "In only six months we have been able to establish a top-notch engineering and production group, and we are busy fulfilling orders for several systems that will ship during the first half of the year.
"We are very happy with the progress of our underwater glider systems programme."
Kongsberg Maritime aims to develop additional capabilities for its new AUV and is simultaneously working on transition of the technology into the commercial sector.
Image: KONGSBERG Seaglider AUV. Photo: courtesy of Kongsberg Maritime AS.