UK-based survey specialist Bibby HydroMap has completed testing of ‘DriX’, the 8-meter Autonomous Unmanned Survey Vessel (AUSV) developed by iXblue.
DriX has the ability to accommodate a hydrographic and geophysical survey payload and to aid positioning of underwater vehicles, facilitating data collection on a variety of marine projects.
“DriX continues to build its successful track record across the hydrographic and offshore energy markets. Thanks to Bibby HydroMap’s commitment to finding new ways to work faster and better, and to the company’s sharp knowledge of offshore renewables, we were able to jointly demonstrate the relevancy of our AUSV in maximizing efficiency in an offshore wind farm environment. This really was a milestone for DriX, proving once again its versatility, the accuracy of its data gathering and its stability in a range of sea states. We are excited by the results and the promising prospects for DriX and Bibby HydroMap,” said Guillaume Edeline, business development manager at iXblue.
The key purpose of the trials, covering a 5-day period, was to test the performance and survey capabilities of DriX in an ever-demanding marine environment.
Testing took place in and around the Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm, operated by Innogy Renewables UK. The 576MW offshore wind farm is in a tidally-challenging area off the North Wales coast and is the fourth largest operating offshore wind farm in the world.
Specific locations of interest were identified within the wind farm environment to provide a direct comparison with conventional survey methodologies. Fitted with a Teledyne RESON Seabat IDH T50 multibeam echosounder, the system was able to acquire clean bathymetry data at speeds greater than 8 knots.
During operations QPS’s Qimera Live was running on board DriX, but controlled by technical staff on the support vessel, enabling the fully-processed multibeam echosounder data to be downloaded straight from DriX at the end of each mission.
“DriX has far exceeded our expectations in terms of data quality and performance, and we are delighted to be able to pass this level of quality on to our clients. The level of manoeuvrability both in open water and when in close proximity to fixed structures enables excellent productivity, dramatically reducing acquisition time. Being able to rapidly deploy DriX anywhere in the world will let us meet our clients’ requirements on short notice, whilst simultaneously reducing HSE risk and improving output,” Tom Davenport, operations manager at Bibby HydroMap.