Here come the water works

Materials World magazine
2 Apr 2014

How are we working the great watery continent? Eoin Redahan looks at five interesting technologies on display at Oceanology 2014, in London, UK.

Surveillance at sea
It may only span 3x1.6m, but the CAT-Surveyor is a veritable Swiss Army knife of autonomous catamarans. The surveillance vehicle, developed by Subsea Tech Sarl, in Marseille, France, features an embedded PC for shoreline communication, as well as an array of video and acoustic sensors. A remotely operated underwater vehicle can also be attached to the craft’s towing winch. That way, you can search the depths for shipwrecks and missing souls or inspect your ship’s hull.

Bespoke cables
Milan-based company Aquancable is developing bespoke cables for a broad range of surface and subsea eventualities. For example, the company can make a cable that suits subsea detection and above-water fire resistance. Such a cable would comprise bare copper conductors, polypropylene insulation, flame barrier glass fibre tape, a flame retardant low-smoke zero halogen compound (FR LSZH) sheath, galvanised steel braid armour and a FR LSZH hydrolysis-resistant polyurethane outer sheath. Simple.

Mapping land and sea simultaneously
A novel geo-mosaicking software package can overlay underwater sonar images onto aerial images and nautical charts. According to Teledyne Technologies, headquartered in California, USA, the ProMapper package is suitable for those working in defence and security, hydrography and civil engineering.













What a drone
The first wave and solar-powered drone – that’s what Liquid Robotics has christened it. The surfboard-sized Wave Glider SV3 (above) has been employed from the Arctic to Antarctica to tail sharks, monitor hurricanes and watch for oil leaks. The California-based company’s technology features an adaptive modular power system for hungry payloads, such as sonar, and can be fitted with a range of sensors.











Fitted to endure
It can be a lonely job collecting environmental information at sea, but at least the autonomous C-Enduro (above) is designed to cope. The carbon fibre vehicle, developed by UK-based Planet Ocean Ltd and Autonomous Surface Vehicles, is powered using wind turbines, solar panels and a lightweight diesel generator. The satellite-controlled craft features a self-righting hull to brave stormy seas and a variety of sensors, including a conductivity temperature depth sensor and a hydroacoustic current meter.