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Increase safety and optimise surveys with new autopilot control settings in NaviSuite Kuda

16 December 2022

Did you know that EIVA’s hydrographic survey software bundle, NaviSuite Kuda, is integrated with its very own autopilot for enabling autonomy?

In the latest update to NaviSuite Kuda, version 4.6.2, EIVA added new vehicle control buttons in the software interface to provide NaviSuite Kuda – Autopilot users with more powerful control than ever. One of the great advantages of creating our own autopilot is that EIVA can develop and integrate exactly the autopilot controls our customers need – as evidenced in this new update!

Watch the new vehicle control buttons in action during EIVA’s recent sea trials

Quickly adapt the instructions sent to your NaviSuite Kuda – Autopilot

If you’re an operator of a vessel with an autopilot, and are running NaviSuite Kuda survey software, you can instruct your vessel to automatically navigate along a runline or to waypoint in the Vehicle Control window. In this same window, if your vessel equipped with EIVA’s NaviSuite Kuda – Autopilot, you can use several new buttons to…

  • Increase safety of autopilot operations – by defining emergency stop settings, as well as quickly taking manual control
  • Improve the quality of your data by adjusting the vehicle’s speed while the survey is running on autopilot – if your real-time collected data shows that the speed should be changed, for example decreasing the speed due to seeing holes in your collected data
navisuite mobula harbour wall inspection assisted steering supervised autonomy

A remote operator can QC data in real-time with many different data visualisation options in NaviSuite Kuda – and thereby easily know if manual input to the autopilot is needed 

Safe supervised autonomy in the face of unpredictable environments

Using autopilot in trafficked areas like harbours presents potential risks, such as collisions. To help operators overcome these challenges, so they can gain the benefits of automation and remote control in all operations, EIVA is constantly improving our survey software and hardware solutions. In this new update, the EIVA team made it as easy as possible to handle potential risks by optimising the vehicle control interface.

For example, if you see an unexpected obstacle, like a buoy or a boat in your vessel’s path, you can now use one of the new buttons…

Press Emergency Stop: the vessel will stay parked until you press Start Thruster or input new instructions.

Press Manual Control: you can easily adjust the speed and heading of your vehicle live, while it is still merrily going along its way. To avoid an obstacle this way, you might simply change the heading by 90 degrees to circumvent the obstacle, then turn again until back on track, then end manual control mode to return to following the autopilot path.

The NaviSuite Kuda Vehicle Control window in manual mode

Keep calm and (don’t) carry on

The previously mentioned tools assume that you have full control if needed, however another potential risk is that communications between remotes and your USV fail. This could be for example due to a power outage, sailing out of range or damage to your remote controller.

In such instances, you may want the USV to stay safely in place. This is why you can set the Auto Emergency Stop time. This is the number of seconds the USV will wait to do an emergency stop after losing signal from remotes. If your USV is sailing offshore where there is little risk of collision, it might be more advantageous to set the number higher, so your data collection isn’t interrupted if there’s a bad signal, whereas in crowded waters, you may set it lower to ensure safety.

Selecting EIVA’s autopilot provides more vehicle control than NMEA APB format

To access the new vehicle control buttons, you must first connect your NaviSuite Kuda – Autopilot to your NaviSuite Kuda Config software. If you have not equipped your vessel with EIVA’s autopilot, for example if you are using an autopilot through the standardised NMEA APB format, note that other autopilots do not provide this form of extensive control, so you will not be able to access these features. 

The NaviSuite Kuda Config program’s list of instruments include NaviSuite Kuda – Autopilot (right) 

Sailing forward

EIVA is currently working on enabling the next step to full autonomy by providing automated obstacle avoidance using LiDAR data. Stay tuned for future updates by following the EIVA cruise.

Watch the autopilot in action and learn more about benefits it brings

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