American Engineers Inc (AEI) recently added Hydrographic Surveying to their range of in-house survey capabilities, with the acquisition of a state of the art CEE HydroSystems single beam sonar survey package with a remotely-operated unmanned surface vehicle (USV). CEE delivered the custom USV, built around the unique modular CEESCOPE-USV echo sounder system, with HYPACK hydrographic acquisition software offering AEI a complete survey planning, execution, and data editing capability. Combined with airborne drone and LiDAR equipment, the CEE USV allows AEI to present a complete survey package for above and below water for their clients throughout the United States.
The high performance 1.8m remotely operated boat was fitted out by CEE USA to meet AEI’s specifications, using a dual channel echo sounder with built-in Trimble RTK GNSS, allowing seamless operation with AEI’s Trimble R8 and R10 UHF base stations. According to Adrian McDonald of CEE HydroSystems USA, “The AEI USV package represents a great step forward in usability and flexibility for remote surveying and presents a high quality bathymetry solution for AEI’s clients. With all GNSS positioning, echo sounding, and data telemetry in a single removable enclosure, separate from the vehicle systems, this USV is a survey tool and not a scientific project; turn on the vehicle and data module power and you are ready to start surveying.”
Owing to the modular design, AEI operators can easily switch from surveying with the USV to a manned boat, without any need to disassemble the USV, except for removing the waterproof data module. Future-proofing was important to allow AEI to respond to client needs. Side scan sonar imaging using the Tritech StarFish may be added as an external input to the CEESCOPE-USV and the ability to refit for a multibeam echo sounder such as the Norbit IBWM was a design requirement used to determine the vehicle type.
The vehicle hull and remote-control / propulsion system was supplied by Teledyne Instruments (Poway, USA).