Maritime securityCodaOctopus delivers first of three Underwater Inspection Systems to U.S. Coast Guard

Published 19 November 2007

CodaOctopus delivers first of three Underwater Inspection Systems (UIS) to U.S. Coast Guard; advanced, versatile system features several advanced technologies which allow for real-time 3D underwater inspection with accurate positioning (up to 10cm) for georeferencing

Go silent, go deep. New York-based CodaOctopus has delivered the first of three Underwater Inspection Systems (UIS) to the U.S. Coast Guard, fulfilling the conditions of the contract signed with the Department of Defense Technical Support Working Group (TSWG) in July this year. A TSWG program manager said that “Following a very successful initial design review meeting with CodaOctopus in Tampa in early October, the U.S. Coast Guard has taken delivery of the first of the three UIS systems for evaluation, which we expect to play an important part in their ongoing underwater security operations. We are delighted with the progress of the contract thus far.”

The contract between CodaOctopus and TSWG was signed in July 2007. It has an an immediate value of $2.59 million and calls for the delivery of three UIS systems over the first six months. The system would allow the Coast Guard rapid underwater searches in ports and waterways. The contract includes additional options which, if fully funded, would expand its total value to $8.27 million, requiring an additional seven UIS systems and a number of enhancements to the current system. The second UIS is scheduled for delivery to the Coast Guard in mid-December this year.

When you think of maritime and port security, the UIS is a natural. It features several advanced technologies. The company describes the UIS as the world’s only fully integrated high resolution 3D inspection system, delivering precise and intuitive 3D images in real-time. Designed to inspect large underwater areas the company claims it has 100 percent coverage with 98 percent probability of detection. The device was developed in collaboration with the Center for Ocean Technology, University of South Florida, with funding from United States Office of Naval Research (ONR) and U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). The UIS is built around the Coda Echoscope — a real-time 3D sonar incorporating advanced phased array technology simultaneously generate over 16,000 beams which result in an instant three-dimensional sonar image in which the position of every data point is accurately known. The Echoscope can produce detailed images from a single sonar ping, and it is capable of updating at up to fifteen times per second, thus allowing rapid coverage of large areas (up to 20,000 linear feet per hour). The unit uses the company’s patented 3D mosaicking techniques, allowing it to inspect large areas quickly and integrated into an intuitive georeferenced visualization of the whole underwater scene in real-time and in the murkiest of waters.

There is a need to ensure the accurate positioning the UIS for georeferencing purposes, something which is not always easy to do, what with the currents underwater and the murkiness of the water itself. Accurate positioning is achieved by integrating the UIS with the Octopus F180 series precision attitude and positioning system. Providing absolute positioning at accuracies of up to 10cm (4”), with heading better than 0.05°, high accuracy is essential to ensuring that all data is correctly georeferenced, enabling real-time mosaicking as well as quick relocation of areas of interest from previous inspections. The small boat package of the UIS includes a ruggedized digital video camera or optional night vision camera to provide a separate above water reference. For remotely operated vehicle (ROV) installations, a laser scaling camera provides an accurate visual cross reference. Depending on the application and platform, the UIS can be combined with a range of additional sensors and other sonars to create an integrated bespoke package. The total package CodaOctopus offers has many advantages over using 2D sonar, sector scan sonar, acoustic lens sonars, or underwater video cameras alone.

In addition to port inspection, the UIS has many applications, among them ships’ hull inspection (for security, maintenance, or contraband); inspection of critical assets; search and recovery missions; structural inspection of bridges and dams; mine and underwater obstacle detection; fisheries and environmental research; pipeline construction and leak inspection, and more.