Kraken Sonar Systems said it will receive a non-refundable financial contribution of up to $1.47 million from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP).
In addition to technical and business advisory services provided by NRC-IRAP, the funding is being used to support the development of Kraken’s underwater robotics program, which involves development of a technology demonstration platform.
The first phase of the program will utilize the Fraunhofer Institute’s DEDAVE autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) as the base platform. The AUV will be enhanced with hydrodynamic, control system and payload upgrades.
Karl Kenny, Kraken’s president and CEO, said: “We sincerely appreciate the continued support and assistance from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) to help us further penetrate the $600 million AUV market. Over the past few years, AUVs have evolved from an emerging, niche technology to a viable solution and an established part of operations in both military and commercial applications. Given the recent shift in industry focus from AUVs being platform/hardware-centric to becoming sensor/software-centric, we believe there is significant potential for further growth. By combining our advanced sensor technologies with cutting edge artificial intelligence algorithms, it’s our objective to deliver a cost-effective AUV solution that is truly autonomous as opposed to being simply automated.”
The DEDAVE’s current primary payload is Kraken’s 6000m depth rated AquaPix MINSAS-60 Synthetic Aperture Sonar. The MINSAS-60 will be upgraded to an AquaPix MINSAS-120 with Real-Time embedded SAS processor (RTSAS), increasing the area coverage rate to 2 km2 per hour at 3cm x 3cm resolution. The addition of Kraken’s RTSAS and SoundView onboard geo-referencing software will enable onboard, real-time sonar data processing, image mosaicking and on-the-fly 3D seabed mapping. A new underwater laser scanner will also be integrated to provide sub-millimeter resolution and full color, georeferenced 3D point clouds.
The AUV’s mechanical structure and hydrodynamic design will be optimized for the new payloads, increasing hydrodynamic efficiency and supporting unique new features. The addition of multiple tunnel thrusters will enable a hovering capability and upgrades to the vehicle’s control system architecture will provide station-keeping, path-following and precision maneuvering for stationary target inspection. The AUV will also be used to test and evaluate newly developed artificial intelligence algorithms for vehicle autonomy, machine learning, non-linear missions and automated target detection.