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15 May 2014

AUVSI 2014: Bluefin Robotics - A Full AUV Lifecycle Provider

Bluefin Robotics, exhibiting at booth 648, develops, builds, and operates Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) and related technologies for defence, commercial, and scientific customers worldwide. The compaby offers a full range of modular, free-flooded AUV platforms. Using a core set of building blocks, Bluefin has designed over 50 different configurations. This includes over 70 different sensors on over 80 AUVs.

Bluefin is a full AUV lifecycle provider offering research and development (R&D), technology integration, full-scale manufacturing, platform training, and operations support. In 2005, Bluefin became a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Battelle Memorial Institute. Battelle is a global science and technology enterprise that develops and commercialises technology and manages laboratories for customers. Battelle oversees a staff of 22,000 scientists, engineers, and support specialists and conducts $6.2 billion in annual R&D.

BLUEFIN-9 swimming. (Photos: Bluefin Robotics)

Late 2013, Sonardyne International and Bluefin Robotics have announced a collaboration to integrate Sonardyne’s Solstice Side Scan Sonar with a BLUEFIN-12 AUV. A modular vehicle that allows for swappable payloads, BLUEFIN-12 is most commonly used for offshore survey, search and salvage, environmental monitoring and unexploded ordnance survey operations. 

The BLUEFIN-12S is a highly modular autonomous underwater vehicle with the ability to carry multiple payloads simultaneously. Its baseline low-cost navigation solution and 4.5kWh energy capacity provide ample capability for most shallow applications. 

A new generation of search and classify sonar with integrated swath bathymetry, Solstice produces imagery of the highest possible quality from a conventional (non-SAS) sonar. It is designed to produce wide swath coverage (±100 metres) whilst consuming only 18 Watts of power, increasing the operational and cost effectiveness of the AUV.

Bluefin Robotics and Sonardyne have a long partnership; we already use products from their acoustic positioning and wireless communications technology ranges which are installed on some of our other AUV models,” said David Kelly, President & CEO for Bluefin Robotics. “Installing Solstice is part of our latest development programme to demonstrate the technology as an integrated option for our customers.”

Solstice has been specifically designed for AUV integration with its low power consumption and wide swath for increasing operational capability,” commented Nick Swift, Business Manager for Sonardyne Maritime Security. “This collaboration further shows the commitment of both companies to providing industry-leading solutions that deliver real benefits to customers.”

Also in late 2013, Bluefin Robotics has acquired SeeByte, a leading provider of autonomous platform software that enhances the user experience and the capabilities of underwater sensors, vehicles and systems. SeeByte, headquartered in Edinburgh, Scotland, will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bluefin. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The combined companies will offer a complete suite of autonomy products for surface vehicles and underwater vehicles, both remotely-operated and unmanned. Together, Bluefin Robotics and SeeByte will have full life-cycle capability from R&D through design and manufacture to field operations and will operate globally in both defense and commercial markets.

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