Marport newest product, AquaPix, has been featured in the July issue of UT3, the online magazine of the Society for Underwater Technology. AquaPix® is a new interferometric Synthetic Aperture Sonar targeted to mine countermeasures, hydrography, seabed survey and other underwater imaging markets. It is the latest product to be based on Marport’s revolutionary Software Defined Sonar®.
Please click the link below to view the article starting on page 88.
The Managing Director and Operations Manager of Geodetic Offshore Services Limited (GOSL), Nigeria visited Marport’s St. John’s office from March 15 to 17. The purpose of their visit was to demonstrate progress on the development of Marport’s SQX Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) program.
Last year, GOSL purchased a SQX-500 UUV, to be upgraded to a 3,000 meter depth rated SQX-3000 UUV, both equipped with a number of Marport sensors.
In-water tests of the vehicle were successfully completed in the large testing tanks of the NRC Institute for Ocean Technology and the Marine Institute Flume Tank. As a result of these successful tests, GOSL has decided to execute its option to procure a second SQX class vehicle.
Last Thursday (October 22, 2009), Marport’s Underwater Robotics group successfully demonstrated the unique manoeuvring capabilities of the SQX-500 Unmanned Underwater Vehicle in the NRC-IOT test tank.
The hydro-dynamically stable UUV is designed for reliable performance and low life-cycle cost. The dual-pod design enables exceptional stability. Its rudders can rotate 360° and its propulsion system utilizes vector thrusters. As such, the vehicle can hover or transit laterally, vertically, forward, and reverse, enabling stealthy manoeuvres. Patents have already been filed on the unique propulsion and control system.
The first SQX-500 has been sold to an international offshore survey company for seabed survey applications. Marport is currently investigating a variety of scientific research and military applications for the vehicle.
The SQX-class of vehicles are being co-developed by Marport Canada, the NRC – Institute for Ocean Technology and Memorial University.
Marport’s Executive VP and General Manager, Commercial Fisheries
During a recent visit to Seattle, we had the opportunity to catch up with Oskar and ask him a few questions concerning Marport’s acquisition of C-Tech and how he thinks it will impact the company’s activities in the Commercial Fisheries sector.
Webmaster: Good morning, and thanks for taking the time to chat with us today.
Oskar: Good morning to you. It’s my pleasure.
Webmaster: Perhaps we can start by asking what you think about Marport’s recent acquisition of C-Tech Ltd.?
Oskar: I think this is an excellent acquisition for Marport. While Commercial Fisheries is and will remain very important to us, we plan to continue with the diversification of our Software Defined Sonar® technology into new domains – including Underwater Defence, Offshore Energy and Ocean Science. Over the past 12 years, Marport has grown from a one person, one product company, to a global company with over 110 employees and nearly 100 different products. By my estimation, we now rank in the Top 5 multi-domain sonar companies in the world.
Webmaster: Have you had any involvement with C-Tech prior to the acquisition?
Oskar: Yes, as a matter of fact I’ve known C-Tech from the time that they made sonars for the commercial fishing market – this would be around the late 1970’s. During this period, I was working as a marine electronics service technician on the east coast of Iceland. I recall being very impressed with C-Tech’s sonar technology. They were the first in the world to build omni sonars that integrated micro-processors and an electronic display – while their competitors of that time were only searchlight sonars that used paper recorders. There’s no doubt that C-Tech led the commercial fisheries omni sonar market in innovation and product excellence. I think it was a very unfortunate setback for commercial fisheries when C-Tech decided to exit the industry because of the unethical copying of its products. Of course, C-Tech went on to create and build a very successful business in the military sonar market.
Webmaster: Do you see any role for C-Tech in future products for commercial fisheries?
Oskar: Definitely. We acquired C-Tech for several important reasons – the ability to quickly enter the underwater defence industry, as well as to leverage the synergies in our technology and product platforms. As many of your readers know, Marport has been making significant R&D investments in developing our Software Defined Sonar® technology. We have already successfully launched the industry’s first software defined sensors and will be releasing the 2nd generation of this technology – codenamed DataSquid® – later this year.
During the upcoming World Fishing Exhibition in Vigo, we also plan to release CARUSO, our new multi-beam sounder/profiler. CARUSO is another excellent example of broadband, software-defined technology and we expect it to be very successful. We already have orders for over 25 units – and while the hardware is ready we have decided to take some more time to finalize the software.
CARUSO will operate on what we call CommandView 4 – a 4D software application. We’ve been doing a lot of research into medical imaging techniques and believe that CARUSO will be the first of a new series of marine products that embody our trademark – Seeing with Sound®.
This means that sounder and sonar visualization techniques will migrate from the “look and feel” of standard echograms – that the fishing industry has seen for decades – to a graphically rich, real-world environment that uses acoustic imaging for picture-centric situational awareness. We’re really breaking new ground with this type of software – and we expect that the CV4 software architecture will enable us to rapidly deploy new solutions in all our market domains.
Regarding C-Tech, we are also very seriously considering re-packaging C-Tech’s existing Omni Sonar® products for re-entry into commercial fisheries market. When married with our Software Defined Sonar® electronics we could deliver a very innovative Integrated Sonar System.
Webmaster: What exactly is an Integrated Sonar System?
Oskar: Our thinking on this is quite clear. We know that we now have the technology, production capability, build quality and service/support infrastructure to immediately enter and compete with the existing omni sonars from Norway and Japan. However, competing on the same old playing field is not very compelling or interesting – we believe we need to incorporate break-through innovation that enables our customers to significantly enhance their performance and increase their operational effectiveness. To that point, in this month’s edition of Fishing News International there was a news story on the new F/V Nordborg – perhaps the world’s most advanced fishing vessel. In that article, Captain Jon Rasmussen discussed testing new gear and sharing innovative ideas with us. Innovation is a Marport hallmark and we want to continue this tradition.
As such, the Integrated Sonar Suite incorporates every acoustic element needed for Commercial Fishing – wireless net sensors and sounders, trawl mounted sonars, single and split beam hull mounted sounders, doppler current profilers and omni sonars – and all elements are seamlessly linked via an open architecture network. Marport would be the first in the industry to eliminate single function “stovepipe” marine electronics design and deliver a truly integrated system for deep sea and coastal fishing.
Webmaster: So what’s missing from your product line-up to deliver the Integrated Sonar System?
Oskar: We expect to have every component in place within the next 6 – 8 months. As I mentioned earlier, we have significant expertise in reconfigurable embedded systems – such as our broadband, software defined net sensors. We already have a series of wireless net sounders. With the C-Tech acquisition we now have significant expertise and capabilities in omni sonar. Later this year we will start shipping CARUSO our multibeam sounder/profiler.
Products currently under development include two new trawl sonars – one is a high frequency omni, while the other is a high resolution side scan imaging sonar based upon our AquaPix® technology. Both of these products are compact, phased array sonars and do not have any moving parts. We expect them to be very well received in the market.
Webmaster: Do you have any other new Commercial Fishing products under development?
Oskar: We always have new products under development (laughs). Seriously though, in addition to the two new trawl sonars, our engineers are working hard on a new speed sensor that uses doppler velocity profiling to replace electro-magnetic techniques. We also have ongoing R&D in high speed underwater wireless acoustic communications and trawl positioning technologies. I’d also like to say that we always encourage customer feedback to our existing product designs and try to incorporate that feedback whenever possible. Essentially, we build industrial tools for professional industrial customers. While some others in the commercial fishing industry want to continue to build single function devices – and then lecture customers on how to use them – we have taken a more open business approach to let our customers know the various ways that a product can be used. For example, if you make and sell hammers, you don’t need to tell a professional carpenter how to use it (smile).
Webmaster: That all sounds like very interesting business approach and technology. What are your plans regarding production for Commercial Fisheries products?
Oskar: Good question. Today, we have assembly operations in France and Seattle. And that has worked very well for us over the past few years. However, our sales in Commercial Fisheries are significantly increasing and with this sales growth we face production challenges. So our plan is to transfer final assembly of most of our Commercial Fisheries products to C-Tech’s facility in Canada. That 40,000 square foot facility is ISO 9001:2000 certified and can easily scale production to meet our needs. The plant has very impressive onsite testing capabilities as well as an offsite Underwater Acoustic Test Range with quiet water for testing acoustic sensors, sounders and sonars.
Webmaster: We have many more questions for you – but also realize that you are a busy man. So, we’ll conclude our interview and say thanks so much for spending some time with us today.
Oskar: No problem, it was my pleasure. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our customers for their continued encouragement and support – particularly the deep sea captains, fleet managers and owners who contribute their valuable time to test and provide important feedback on the development of our new products. We consider them as part of the Marport team and it with their input we will continue to innovate.
During the past week in the waters of Puget Sound near Seattle, Marport engineers completed successful sea trials of its Multimode Sonar Transceiver.
The broadband, Multimode Sonar Transceiver is based on Marport’s Software Defined Sonar technology.
A single transceiver is capable of providing the following functional capabilities via dynamic software reconfiguration:
- single beam shallow water survey sounder,
- single beam deep water survey sounder,
- multibeam echo sounder,
- side scan sonar,
- doppler current profiler,
- doppler velocity log,
- sound velocity profiler, and
- sub bottom profiler (conventional and parametric).
Other features of the transceiver include:
- Dynamic Broadband Tuning - 1 kHz to 1 Mhz
- Shallow Water to Full Ocean Depth – 0.35 to 10,000m
- User Defined Frequency, Pulse Length, Modulation
- Advanced Algorithms for Bottom Tracking, Second Layer Detection and Seabed Classification
- Support for 3rd Party Transducers and Software
- User Defined Frequency, Pulse Length, Modulation
- Transceiver is MIL-SPEC Type Approved
- Simultaneous Support for 4 Different Transducers/Operating Frequencies
- Embedded Intel Celeron Dual Core Processor
- Integrated Linux RTOS
- Solid State Hard Drive for Data Logging
- Interfaces include CANBus, Giga-Ethernet, USB, RS232/422, Bluetooth, WiFi
- Compact, Lightweight, and Power Efficient
- Excellent Price / Performance Value
The completely watertight, cylindrical transceiver has a diameter of 20 cm and is rated to 5,000m depth (for AUV operations).
Preliminary technical specs are as follows:
- Modulation fully programmable – CW, FM, Phase
- Pulse length fully programmable
- Broadband Frequency: 1 kHz to 1 MHz
- Output power: up to 4kW on 20 Ohms
- Full IQ 16 bit pilot signal
- Full IQ 24 bit data – up to 160 dB dynamic
- SNR: 126dB at 38kHz, 120dB at 600kHz
- Different adaptive gains for water column and bottom simultaneously
Marport will be carrying out additional sea trials over the summer months and plans commercial availability for the Multimode Sonar Transceiver by early September, 2009.
These actual recordings were taken by Marport’s Irish distributor Sonartron onboard the well known Killybegs vessel Western Endeavour, skippered by Jens Bach.
These recordings were made while mackerel fishing of the west coast of Ireland.
One can clearly see the fish entering the net and going into the cod-end with crystal clear clarity. The echo from the net and bottom are clearly visible. The innovative new sounder looks both downwards and backwards to see fish going into the cod end. It also has depth and temperature, catch , pitch and roll. All in one sensor.
The only requirement is a 40Khz transducer and of course Marport’s revolutionary new underwater technology. No more guessing what’s happening at the brailer or if the fish going in…see it yourself. This unit can also be used as a wireless net sounder. No more cable splices or bad connections. Just a clear picture of the way ahead!
(Special thanks to Jim and the crew at Sonartron for the recordings)
Software Defined Radios (SDR) are an important battlefield lifeline. The U.S. military use SDRs to reduce communications difficulties between naval, terrestrial and airborne units through the use of common waveforms, creating greater situational awareness and enhanced survivability for warfighters. Experiences in the Gulf War and Iraq have highlighted the need for fully interoperable, seamless communications to shape operations and win decisively. Technological advances such as battlefield wireless networking are addressing the need for real-time data and video feeds on top of input from traditional voice systems.
The Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) program was initiated to develop a device that could connect legacy communications and create new functionality to meet future service needs. A family of software reprogrammable radios built around an open software architecture, JTRS is designed to provide reliable multichannel voice, data, imagery and video communications. The software-based nature of the system permits users the flexibility to select optimal waveforms to meet mission demands.
The radio’s core modules can be configured for multiple platforms. Digital signal processing provides flexibility and operational simplicity through end-to-end communications connectivity. The system also supports low-probability-of-intercept and anti-jam capabilities, transmit power controls and encryption. JTRS provides broadband radio coverage in a frequency range from 2 megahertz to 2 gigahertz. Additional capabilities include local area network services for both line-of-sight and beyond-line-of-sight data and voice links and the use of adaptive routing techniques to enhance network survivability.
As JTRS systems are deployed across the military, they will replace legacy units, but not entirely on a one-for-one basis. There are some 750,000 radios in use by the U.S. Defense Department. Many platforms, such as high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles, use up to five radios to meet all of their communications needs. Because of its multifunctional nature, a single JTRS unit will replace multiple radios on an individual platform.
Marport’s Software Defined Sonar® has been developed using the same design philosophy as Software Defined Radio. Today, Internet Protocol (IP) is being introduced to every part of the battlespace. The move toward everything over IP, coupled with pushing IP everywhere, has allowed data to be delivered in a timely way to commanders. This data turns into information and the information turns into knowledge – which is especially important in the network-centric battlespace.
The US military is now moving to consolidate its tactical radio purchases across participating services, in order to reduce unit costs. Both Thales and rival Harris Corporation are now competing for delivery orders under the U.S. Defense Department’s Consolidated Interim Single Channel Handheld Radio program – orders that could total over $9 billion if all options are exercised!
Over time, the benefits proven by Software Defined Radio are expected to drive demand for Marport’s Software Defined Sonar®.Note: Software Defined Sonar is a registered trademark of Marport Deep Sea Technologies Inc.
This past week, senior technical and commercial personnel from Marport and Koden attended a product planning session in Orlando, Florida. The session was related to the Strategic Alliance Agreement that Marport and Koden signed in May, 2008. Under the terms of that agreement, both companies are collaborating on the development of new sonar products based on Marport’s Software Defined Sonar technology and Koden’s significant experience in marine electronics. Koden also distributes Marport’s commercial fishing products in Japan and has already realized commercial success, particularly within the Hokkaido fishing fleet.
Today, companies are trying to balance customer demand for increased innovation and shorter time-to-market. As a result, many leading technology companies are changing the way they develop new products. The existing synergies between Marport and Koden are obvious, and the decision to co-develop new products is demonstrating the value of Software Defined Sonar technology across a broader market segment.
Koden has a long and distinguished history in marine electronics. The company was founded in 1947 – two years after World War II – by Dr. Y. Ito, whose position was pivotal at the Naval Technical Research Department as a Captain in the former Japanese Imperial Navy. His hope was to make a peaceful contribution to the world by leveraging the advanced technologies that were developed in his naval days. For Japan and its people, this new era was a restart from “nothing”. The whole country was suffering from shortages in practically everything, and the most crucial of all, obviously, was the shortage of food. Koden’s marine electronics were welcomed into the Japanese fishing fleet and made significant contributions to increase catch efficiency. Over the years, Koden continued to introduce major technical innovations, such as transistors, integrated circuits, computers, and color visualization into its products ahead of competitors. The company has released a large number of ground-breaking marine electronics – including automatic radio direction finder, synchronized sonar, the world’s first color echo sounder and marine color radar.
Although several hundred Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) have been produced to date, AUVs are still regarded as a relatively new technology. Some analysts say that they have the potential to ‘change the game’ in some areas of underwater operations. Considerable investments by research institutes, manufacturers and the military are resulting in AUVs becoming increasing accepted in some of key roles where they have been shown to be more effective than previous technology.
A recent report identifies three significant growth markets for AUVS, namely oil & gas, research and military applications. The report covers the period from 2008-17 and examines the market drivers and prospects in each of the main application sectors. It identifies a “most likely” market scenario being valued at $1.8 billion with the upside market potential valued at over $3.5 billion.
Marport and Canada’s with the National Research Council of Canada’s Institute for Ocean Technology (NRC-IOT) are co-developing a compact AUV designed for search and survey applications. The AUV is code-named SQX1 and is a hydrodynamically stable platform designed for reliable performance and low life-cycle cost. The vehicle’s dual-pod design enables exceptional stability and its position and velocity controllers are tuned for near-hovering capabilities. SQX1 will be equipped with Marport’s Software Defined Sonar (SDS) platform – which will include advanced sensors, sounders and imaging sonar. The payload architecture can also be configured to include a wide variety of standard and/or custom sensors to meet unique subsea mission requirements.
The development of the vehicle is progressing very well and Marport expects to be conducting open water sea trials during this coming summer.
Marport’s new Caruso SF7 was recently profiled in Le Marin – the French maritime news magazine.
The Caruso SF7 is a broadband, multi-function sounder/profiler designed for commercial fishing, ocean science and underwater defence. The system consists of a sparse array transducer, a software defined transceiver and a bridge computer. The system is delivered with Marport’s CommandView software to enable processing, display and recording. The new solution provides 7 advanced functions in 1:
- Split Beam Sounder
- Doppler Current Profiler
- Speed Velocity Log
- Broadband Chirp Echosounder
- Sub Bottom Profiler
- Sea Surface Temperature
- Bottom Classification
To review the article (in French language) click here.