World First: Unmanned Vessel Completes Cable Survey

C-Worker 5

Published Oct 10, 2017 7:33 PM by The Maritime Executive

ASV Global and TerraSond have completed the first ever seabed cable route survey supported by an autonomous, unmanned boat.  

The survey route included various water depths and strong currents, while facing difficult wind and sea conditions in the Bering Sea offshore Alaska.  Around 1,220 kilometers (760 miles) of cable route survey lines were completed by an ASV Global C-Worker 5 autonomous surface vehicle (ASV).  The cable route survey required the use of a hull mounted multibeam sonar, a sub-bottom profiler and a towed sidescan sonar with 250 meters (820 feet) of armored sonar cable. 

Throughout the operation the C-Worker 5 was remotely monitored using ASV Global’s control system from a station on TerraSond’s mother ship. Minimal human intervention was required.

This deployment follows on from a 2016 charting survey completed off Alaska where ASV Global and TerraSond marked an industry first by completing a 9,500-kilometer (5,900-mile) hydrographic survey, 4,200 kilometers (2,600 miles) of which were completed unmanned. 

Tom Newman, President of TerraSond expressed his satisfaction, “Together with ASV we have performed the first use in charting, first use in the Arctic, first use for a cable route survey and first to accumulate over 10,000 kilometers in use.” 

The C-Worker 5 uses an off-the-shelf direct drive marine diesel propulsion system and is designed for up to five days endurance at survey speeds of up to seven knots.