Application: Long Endurance Oceanography ASV Design and Build
Customer: Innovate UK – The Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI)
Summary: In 2012, ASV Global won funding for the development, design and build of a long endurance autonomous surface vehicle, the C-Enduro.
Benefit: Bring a platform to market that had the ability to go to sea for long periods of time.
The C-Enduro project began in 2012 with the identification of a distinct gap in the market for a long-endurance autonomous surface vehicle. At the time, ASV Global did not have a vessel with the necessary range capability so initial discussion and conceptual design commenced.
The brief included an unmanned craft that could exploit a range of sensor options for long periods at sea without refuelling or the need for hands-on human intervention during operation.
The solution was seen in a craft with protected propellers driven by an electric motor with its battery recharged by a combination of three power sources.
The C-Enduro concept centres on a three-pillar energy system providing a flexible and fault tolerant solution to energy supply. Having researched and trialled various energy sources, the team selected solar panels, a wind generator and a lightweight diesel generator as energy sources. Detailed calculations and tests showed that this selection, combined with efficient power management and command and control systems packaged together, provided the greatest system for allowing the vessel to complete long-endurance missions.
Key features of the design also included, a large payload capacity (>0.5m3, over 50W continuous power), a carbon fibre, self-righting catamaran hull and a mast suitable to house weather sensors and cameras suites. The concept behind design of the hull and mast was based on the necessity for the vessel to work across a number of sea states, in hazardous environments and inshore areas. The mast allows for above water payload to be integrated, maximising the sensor capacity across the vessel.
The C-Enduro hulls were created through layering sheets of carbon fibre cloth into a bespoke mould after gel coating to achieve the colour. The mould was then filled with epoxy and heated. From this the resulting product was corrosion resistant, stiff and strong providing a rugged exterior for the ocean going ASV. The mast was created in a similar fashion in carbon fibre for the first build with future models changing to be made with glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) cloth. The third build in class was with both hulls and mast made from GRP. The majority of electrical and mechanical fittings, including the ASView-Core are fitted within the carbon fibre hull and easily accessible for maintenance by lifting off the solar panel deck.
The C-Enduro is a 4.2 m-long catamaran with a beam (maximum width at the nominal waterline) of 2.4 m and a height of 2.8 m to the top of the antennae surmounting its central hoop. With its keel retracted its draft (the distance from its lowest point to the nominal waterline) is 0.4 m. It size makes it straightforward to transport by road (it folds down to 1.5 m high) and it is supplied complete with a road trailer and a trolley for slipway or beach launching and recovery. It can also be lifted by dockside or ship crane.
Following design and build the C-Enduro was tested in a number of areas including a protected lake and in hazardous environments such as the North Sea close to Scotland.
Following public testing the C-Enduro received several orders of the system and has been utilised for a number of applications including passive acoustic monitoring, oceanographic data collection and even hydrographic survey. The vessel has also be used for a long-endurance over-the-horizon operation from ASV Global’s mission control centre with a distance of over 500 miles between vessel and control station.
The C-Enduro is an example of the expansive skill set of the ASV Global team from vessel platform design optimisation to fabrication and fit-out. The combination of its concept, its advanced propulsion system integration and its hydrodynamics give this ASV standard-setting range and endurance.
C-Enduro is the perfect platform for a range of applications including oceanographic data collection, renewable energies surveys, acoustic data collection and security and situational awareness and demonstrates the capability and skills of the ASV Global design and manufacturing team.
The C-Enduro project was funded as part of a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition initiated by the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) who set the requirements. The competition was co-funded by UK government-supported bodies the Technology Strategy Board, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl). Following this, orders for the C-Enduro were confirmed by the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) and Heriot-Watt University.
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