Subsea Expo

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Helping Pilots Stay on Course

13 April 2010

Sight of a compass rose and the current depth is a sure way for a pilot to keep his ROV on course.

This is now shown on an up-front flight display overlay, introduced by Saab Seaeye, for the video monitor of its top selling Falcon ROV.

The pilot not only sees compass and depth, but vehicle pitch and roll, camera tilt angle, umbilical turns counter and time and date. The flight monitor can also display editable user messages and system menus. By fitting additional sensors to the ROV, odometer and CP readouts are also available.

The flight display feature has migrated from Saab Seaeye’s larger ROV systems and comes as the company continues to improve the man/machine interface across all ROVs in its range, ready to leave the pilot free to focus on the operational task in hand.

And for existing Falcon users the changeover is as simple a swapping a pcb card.

With over 200 Falcons sold worldwide, the compact and portable ROV’s winning formula comes from its easy-to-handle size, powerful thrusters and ready customisation for many different tasks across a variety of sectors. Tooling can be added or changed simply by bolting on an under-slung module.

Ease of customisation comes from a distributed intelligence control system that allows up to 128 devices to be connected together on a single RS 485 serial network. This senses whatever systems are fitted to the ROV – much like a USB port – and makes fault diagnostics easier.

The Falcon has been adopted for many different tasks across the world. It has been sent down tunnels for mapping and inspection; under the Baltic ice for search and rescue; and into the southern sector of the North Sea for diver support.

It can collect the most delicate coral samples and archeological specimens; or cut through 16mm of high tensile steel wire with ease.

Being light to manhandle it is easy to deploy, even in hostile environmental conditions and can hold steady in strong cross currents whilst undertaking a variety of tasks.

The finger-tip maneuverability of the Falcon comes from five powerful independent magnetically coupled brushless DC thrusters, each with velocity feedback for precise and rapid thrust control.

The core Seaeye Falcon comes complete with lights, camera and video options as standard including solid-state gyro, compass, depth sensor and a 450 metre umbilical. The deep rated 1000 metre version has built-in fibre optics for high volume data transmission over its long umbilical and the ability to use broadcast quality video cameras. It also has tilting variable intensity lights linked to its camera tilt mechanism for superior illumination when filming above or below the vehicle.

Its small and light-weight surface control unit has a rugged19 inch rack and features a fold-out 17 inch flat-screen LCD monitor and keyboard. And where hostile conditions are to be met, an optional waterproof surface control unit rated to international standard IP68 is available. This fully sealed unit will withstand emersion to a depth of one metre and is fully protected against dust ingress in any hazardous shore-based environment.

The Saab Seaeye Falcon has found success across a range of sectors including the oil and gas industry, defence, marine science, underwater tourism and hydro-engineering.

Saab Seaeye continues to lead the way in technological development and extend its lead status as the world’s largest and most respected manufacturer of electrically operated ROVs. Its parent, Saab Underwater Systems is itself a world leader in sensor systems, precision engagement systems and remotely operated and autonomous underwater vehicles.