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Upcoming UXO survey solution for towing by USVs: ViperFish ROTV

11 August 2022

Update: Since the publication of this article, this product has been released. Learn more about ViperFish in our webshop.

As those who were at Oceanology International 2022 may remember from our sneak preview, EIVA is developing a remotely operated towed vehicle (ROTV) for towing by unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) and small vessels.

The ViperFish is a towfish with active 3D steering, which is being designed for safely scanning narrow, hard to reach areas – with sensors close to the seabed. This is possible thanks to its ability to be towed by small vehicles, as well as ability to follow the seabed terrain at a fixed height. As an added bonus, because it can be towed by a USV, it can be used for autonomous surveys, when combined with an autopilot and automated survey software, like NaviSuite Kuda.

In this article, you can take a peek at the ViperFish, a small UXO survey ROTV taking shape in EIVA’s workshop…

small ROTV solution for UXO surveys

Visual representation of the small ROTV solution for UXO surveys – currently in development

Capabilities of this actively steered towfish: Automation

The ViperFish ROTV will provide the same high degree of automation as our ScanFish ROTV range, which is currently the most used sensor platform for UXO operations on the market. This is because it shares the same electronics and ROTV Flight steering software. For example, the ViperFish ROTV can be steered in 3D – providing you with control in both vertical and horizontal directions.

For vertical steering, this means you can instruct the ROTV to stay at a fixed depth or to follow the terrain at a fixed height from the seabed. This terrain-following capability is vital for UXO survey solutions since magnetometers and sidescan sonars function best on a stable platform close to the seabed.

For horizontal steering, the ViperFish ROTV’s autopilot can follow runlines created in a navigation software solution such as NaviSuite Kuda, our hydrographic survey software which provides automation tools allowing you to optimally cover a survey area.

To ensure optimal towed performance, this small ROTV will be torpedo-shaped – plus it will be low weight in water. Its towing speed will be in the range of 2-10 knts speed through water (STW), and it will operate at depths down to 200 m.

Want to get involved? If you have any requests with regards to the specs and capabilities of this upcoming small ROTV to fit your projects’ needs, we would love to chat – feel free to reach out. Using our customers’ feedback as our compass helps EIVA navigates the seas of solution development.

viperfish small uxo rotv payload sensor

Illustration of the ViperFish, a small ROTV UXO survey solution in development – with the sensors labelled

Fillets of sidescan, MBE, mags and more

The ViperFish will be equipped with sensors such as sidescan sonar, multi-beam echo sounder (MBE), magnetometer and sound velocity sensor (SVS), as well as positioning sensors DVL/INS and USBL from providers such as Sonardyne and Wavefront. Through precise positioning and state-of-the-art sensors, this integrated array will provide high resolution UXO survey imaging and enable safe operations minimising risk to the ROTV.


How far does the ViperFish have to swim before it reaches its final form?

The ViperFish USV-towed UXO solution has recently completed its first sea trials, confirming expectations. The solution will be further trialled and matured during the rest of 2022 – so it will be ready for jobs in 2023! 

A prototype of the ViperFish ROTV during its first sea trial

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