IIT Madras Researchers Develop Solar-Powered Unmanned Autonomous Survey Craft
This system could be equipped with an echo sounder, GPS System and broadband communication technology, capable of delivering precise depth measurements. The craft is fully solar-powered. It can endure five to several more hours depending on user requirements.
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras researchers have developed a Solar-powered Unmanned Autonomous Survey Craft for Indian Ports and Inland Waterways to undertake autonomous hydrographic and oceanographic surveys and provide real-time data transmission over long distance.
This system could be equipped with an echo sounder, GPS System and broadband communication technology, capable of delivering precise depth measurements. In addition to echo sounder and GPS system, it is possible to add additional oceanographic payloads (current and velocity measurements), 360-degree Camera, LiDAR for seamless topography and bathymetry measurements.
The craft had a successful field-test recently off the Chennai Coast at Kamarajar Port. Further field trials under harsher environments have been scheduled during November 2020 at Syama Prasad Mookerjee (SMP) Port, Kolkata.
The Autonomous Survey Craft was developed by a Research Team at National Technology Centre for Ports, Waterways and Coasts (NTCPWC) in IIT Madras.
Highlighting the major impact of developing this Autonomous Survey Craft, K Murali, Professor In-Charge, NTCPWC, IIT Madras, said, “This is a significant leap towards indigenisation of the Indian Maritime Sector, which is currently dominated by foreign technology. The craft is capable of delivering precise and accurate depth measurements even in very shallow waters. This Autonomous Survey Craft will help to meet the increasing demands for volume and efficiency as ships are becoming larger, with maximum loading to ensure most efficient operations.”
Further, Mr Murali, said, “The craft can undertake autonomous hydrography surveys at different times of the day to identify the navigable paths that can be used for operational window and navigational guidance. It has been developed to carry out survey operations in areas such as ports, harbours, waterways, dams, lakes, lagoons and other shallow water zones. It can be operated in manual mode by a remote-control setup or as a fully autonomous vehicle.”
The craft is fully solar-powered. It can endure five to several more hours depending on user requirements.