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Ship & Boat International eNews: May/June 2022



Australian robotics specialist Advanced Navigation is preparing to roll out its Hydrus submersible drone in Q4 this year. The Hydrus has been designed as a simple-to-use, compact tool for undersea research, survey and exploration, weighing 6.7kg and measuring 470mm x 260mm x 260mm, making it possible for a single user to launch it by hand.


The drone is produced entirely in-house and uses batteries to power seven thrusters, providing full six degrees of freedom swim control. This arrangement grants the Hydrus a speed of 4knots and an endurance of three hours, covering a range of approximately 9km. The unit can descend to depths of 3,000m.


Applications could include monitoring of coral reefs and analysis of climate change phenomena such as coastal erosion, dwindling fish populations and oceanic CO2 absorption. The Hydrus is fitted with lights rated 20,000lumens, to guide it through murky waters, as well as a “cinema-grade” 4K, 60fps camera. “The camera is combined with an AI image processing system to analyse image quality – the Hydrus can learn what it needs to capture on the fly,” Advanced Navigation tells Ship & Boat International. “The system dynamically balances camera settings and lighting, and compensates for turbidity. It can also create 3D models of underwater objects by combining imagery with its sonar and navigation data.”


AI also powers the Hydrus’ sonar navigation system, enabling it to avoid contact with marine life during its autonomous travels. End users need only access a web browser to utilise the Hydrus’ online platform, with which they can plan underwater missions by simply clicking and pointing on a map, the company says.