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HUGIN 1000 Arctic Class AUV

Einar Gustafson1, Bjørn Jalving1, Øystein Engelhardtsen1, and Nick Burchill2
1Kongsberg Maritime, Horten, Norway.
2Kongsberg Maritime, Halifax, NS, Canada

The increase in human activity in the Arctic region has led to a need for improved knowledge about the subsea Arctic environment. Requirements for bathymetric and geophysical mapping of the seafloor in ice-covered areas are increasing, as well as the need to gain more knowledge about the ice itself. Seabed mapping requirements stem from several sources, including Minerals Management Service (MMS), academic research and national territory mapping. Requirements for mapping the underside of ice floes are being formulated as the concept of Ice Management emerges as a critical risk-reducing measure for offshore Oil & Gas companies.

An autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) is the natural tool to employ for under-ice surveying, in both shallow and deep waters, and for both seabed- and ice underside mapping. Traditionally, AUVs have provided significant cost benefits for deep-water survey work, where tow-body based systems suffer from comparatively lower operational efficiency. However, for efficient under-ice mapping of large areas, AUVs are even more attractive due to the presence of the ice itself.

A range of new challenges arise when using AUVs for under-ice surveying. These include risk of collision with the ice, increased risk of a lost AUV, and a more challenging environment for maintaining long-range autonomous navigation accuracy. Additionally, AUV launch and recovery (L&R) operations will require innovative solutions to keep the risk of damage at an acceptable level.

The HUGIN 1000 Arctic Class AUV system addresses the challenges of the Arctic environment. Operational risk is minimized by employing high area coverage rate (ACR) sensors, such as interferometric synthetic aperture sonar (Kongsberg HISAS 1030) and multibeam echo sounder. The HUGIN AUV concept includes a number of enabling technologies for under-ice operations, including collision avoidance algorithms specifically developed for under-ice operations and radio-through-ice localization and communication systems.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90130©2011 3P Arctic, The Polar Petroleum Potential Conference & Exhibition, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, 30 August-2 September, 2011.