Kongsberg Introduces Innovative Subsea Monitoring System

Kongsberg Maritime has launched the new Simrad Autonomous EK system to carry out continuous long term, in-depth ecosystem monitoring of the subsea environment.

The Simrad Autonomous EK system uses wideband echo sounding technology to discriminate between plankton and different fish species producing high-quality, high resolution scientific data.

The system is a fully autonomous echo sounder unit built using the same wideband technology as the latest high precision, scientific wideband echo sounder, the Simrad EK80.

According to Kongsberg, the wideband technology used in the Simrad Autonomous EK system allows for transmission on frequencies from 35 to 500kHz , depending on the transducers used in the system setup. With 4 independent channels and internal multiplexing, a wide combination of split beam or up to 8 single beam transducers can be interfaced to the system.

The Simrad Autonomous EK system contains features such as low power consumption and an energy saving sleep mode allowing it to be deployed on the seabed for more than a year operating autonomously with internal logging. A new mission planner software has been developed as part of the system, allowing for a pre-programmed customised mission plan. The wideband frequency sweep (chirp) in combination with advanced signal processing gives exceptionally good signal to noise ratio and range resolution. These new features assist scientists with ecosystem monitoring enabling them to identify species more accurately.

The Simrad Autonomous EK system has been developed in conjunction with marine institutes with testing carried out by scientists in the Shelikof Strait in the Gulf of Alaska, where three unites were moored to the seafloor for a period of three months to record the passage of fish above them.

“The Autonomous EK system is entirely new in the Simrad product portfolio. The project in Alaska was a pre-release delivery and we are very proud that the very first long term deployment went so well,” added Tonny Algrøy, Global Sales Manager, Simrad Fish Research, Kongsberg Maritime. “Ship-based surveys offer a snapshot of what’s happening in the water at the time the vessel is there, with the introduction of the Autonomous EK our users can now better understand what happens in between their surveys. The Autonomous EK records data of the same quality and in the same RAW format as the ship based Simrad EK80, allowing for easy comparison between data collected from multiple platforms.”

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