Seabed exploration specialist Ocean Infinity has added a Kongsberg HUGIN 6000 autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) to its fleet to carry out under-ice surveys.

The AUV is equipped with a High Resolution Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Sonar (HISAS) which can send transmissions over 300m. The vessel is the most resilient produced by Kongsbers. It is able to dive up to 6000m below the water’s surface and boasts an aided inertial navigation system and a battery powerful enough to operate for 100 hours at a speed of four knots.

The vessel is equipped with an EM2040 multibeam echosounder, also produced by Kongsberg, in order to survey the underside of ice. The echosounder can survey over distances equal to up to ten times water depth and transmissions are divided into three sectors, which ‘ensures a very strong and beneficial dampening of mulltibounce interference’, according to Kongsberg. The AUV also uses a Doppler velocity log, a program that combines the velocity and direction of the vessel’s travel and compares this to data on its initial position, to aid in under-ice navigation.

“This is an exciting addition to our fleet which means there is now almost no place beneath the oceans we cannot investigate, survey and explore,” said Oliver Plunkett, CEO of Ocean Infinity.

The company’s fleet already includes six HUGIN vessels, including Kongsberg’s most recent HUGIN 6000 models, and six Seaworker unmanned surface vehicles (USVs), which are equipped with five cameras and can operate for 140 hours at four knots, making them a particularly efficient craft.

Ocean Infinity is due to take control of the AUV in December 2018, and it will be involved a scientific research project from the beginning of 2019.