The Antarctic Pole, here we come! Unmanned Surface Vessel from Oceanalpha heading for the south Pole.

Home / News / The Antarctic Pole, here we come! Unmanned Surface Vessel from Oceanalpha heading for the south Pole.

An unmanned surface vessel is incessantly exploring by breaking the ice and facing the waves in remote area of the Antarctic pole.

The 34th of Chinese scientific expedition to the South Pole was launched in November 2017.

M80B--multibeam echo sounder USV jointly developed by PLA navy surveying and mapping institute, National oceanographic bureau of the south China sea investigation technology and Oceanalpha, accompanying with named “Xue Long” the polar science research ship proceeded straight to the south, going to the NANYAN Island located in Ross Archipelago and excellently fulfilled anchorage depth surveying work for the Chinese fifth research station in Antarctica.

Unmanned Surface Vessel0119
Getting ready to go

The harsh climatic conditions and complexly diverse Marine dynamic environments bring great challenges to the navigation of “XUE LONG”in this area to be explored. It ran the risk of surveying the underwater topography with the traditional manned surveying boat.

M80B working spot
M80B Working Spot

As the first domestic unit of professional unmanned surface platform specially designed for submarine exploration, M80B Muti Beam Echosounder USV with5.65m length, 2.4m width, more than 100 sea miles cruising capability and utmost 150kg payload can be modularized and mounted with a variety of acoustic detection equipments, such as: single beam echo sounder, multi-beam swath bathymetric system, side scan sonar, forward looking sonar and ADCP and with magnetic detection instrument, mobile laser scanner and Multipara meter water quality monitoring instrument, which has strong expansibility.

On 8th Dec.2017 M80B took 14 hours to fulfil 5 square miles fully covered multibeam bottom topographic survey, not only filling up the data blank in this area, but also providing basic spatial and geographic database for ship navigation and the construction of new station.

Director of Marine technology applications-PH D. PU introduced that M80B takes a full consideration of the principle of each type of task, construction and working condition requirements etc. In the beginning of developing and designing, sticking to innovation road contributes to a number of technical breakthroughs achieved.

M80B USV is a triple-hulled vessel in M shape which design is distinguished by its stability and anti-waving ability. In the meantime, its special wave-piercing design not only allows the USV to navigate stably, but also contributes to the ensurance of surveying data veracity by reducing the amount of water and air bubbles generated during voyage and the interference of the acoustic detection equipment in the hull.

M80B Submarine exploration USV from Oceanalpha
M80B Submarine exploration USV from Oceanalpha

“The Antarctic Pole is a low-temperature environment which results in the possibility of changing of hull material’s mechanical properties, GNSS weak signal, and the influence to the electronic components.” PH.D. pu expressed that engineers made great efforts to strengthen the construction of the hull, to choose the power system and the components in order to be competent for the voyage.

“Taking the design of the forecastle deck as example, we designed bollard by ourselves in order to facilitate the laying and capturing. We installed the GNSS antenna mounting base and made the choking structure on deck in order to weaken the multipath effect of the sea.” PH.D. PU said.