Kongsberg Maritime has received the first order for K-MATE, its latest marine robotics innovation. K-MATE, an autonomous surface vehicle control system, will be integrated with SEA-KIT, a new class of Maritime Autonomous Surface Vessel being built by UK manufacturer, Hushcraft. SEA-KIT is a rugged, impact-safe and self-righting USV that can carry a deployable and retrievable payload of up to 2.5 tons. It is based on a unique AUV-USV concept, which will lead to more efficient, safer and cost-effective seafloor mapping operations.
The K-MATE autonomy controller software is capable of being integrated with almost any vessel via an electrical interface. It provides adaptive waypoint following for survey and AUV operations while accepting sensor data for scene analysis and collision avoidance. K-MATE is a truly autonomous system designed to follow mission plans, in addition to providing global supervised operations or even direct operator control for complex tasks.
K-MATE is the common autonomous control engine to be used by unmanned and autonomous vessels delivered by Kongsberg Maritime including the fully electric container feeder; YARA Birkeland. It has been developed by the Kongsberg Maritime Subsea Division in Horten, Norway in conjunction with FFI, the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment and is the result of a long and fruitful history of joint development projects, including the HUGIN AUV System; the most success commercial AUV ever.
In addition to the K-MATE autonomy controller solution, SEA-KIT will be equipped with KONGSBERG’s Maritime Broadband Radio (MBR) for high bandwidth direct communication to shore, SeaPath 135 with an MRU5+ for heading, attitude and positioning and the AIS300 Automatic Positioning System. KONGSBERG’s HiPAP acoustic positioning and control system will be used to supervise AUV operations.
SEA-KIT’s two-system AUV-USV configuration provides the unique ability to carry a KONGSBERG HUGIN AUV. In parallel with these AUV capabilities, SEA-KIT’s hull is designed to have different payloads installed including KONGSBERG’s proven range of multibeam echo sounders such as the EM302. SEA-KIT also has extended endurance options, making it the first autonomous boat capable of trans-ocean survey operations.
SEA-KIT is due to be completed in Q3 2017. Its first task is to compete in the Shell Ocean Discovery X-Prize as part of GEBCO’s team, comprising members of GEBCO alumni, personnel from the University of New Hampshire and Hushcraft, with support from KONGSBERG. The HUGIN AUV is being provided by Ocean Floor Geophysics.