The defense disruptor sees autonomous vehicles playing a pivotal role in the defense of undersea critical national infrastructure.
Anduril Industries, a leading autonomous systems and defense technology company, has announced a new partnership with the National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium (NOWRDC) to conduct autonomous inspections of undersea power infrastructure.
As part of the partnership, Anduril’s Dive-LD autonomous undersea vehicle (AUV) will be used to inspect an existing export power cable between Block Island and Point Judith, Rhode Island by the end of 2023. The Dive-LD is a commercial large displacement AUV that is both modular and customizable, making it suitable for a range of defense and commercial missions, such as bathymetric and geophysical surveys, long-range oceanographic sensing, undersea battlespace awareness, mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare, seabed mapping and infrastructure health monitoring.
“Emerging technology is essential to expanding America’s offshore clean energy development,” said NOWRDC executive director Lyndie Hice-Dunton. “Technologies like the Dive-LD will be critical for controlling costs, reducing downtime and addressing at-sea maintenance safely and efficiently. What we demonstrate in this partnership will have implications for offshore assets across sectors.”
By utilizing Metron’s executive mission autonomy, advanced autonomous target recognition algorithms and data quality analysis, the Dive-LD will autonomously survey the existing export power cable, identify potential problem areas and dynamically re-task to perform additional, higher-fidelity inspections of any abnormalities. This multi-phase effort can be completed in a single autonomous mission, thanks to Dive-LD’s capabilities. Furthermore, the NOWRDC partnership showcases the portability of these capabilities to other underwater applications, such as telecommunication cables, oil and gas pipelines and national security assets.
“The NOWRDC partnership is an ideal demonstration of the Dive-LD’s ability to autonomously execute complicated, dangerous missions that used to require multiple passes by manned or remotely-controlled assets,” said Sam Russo, senior director of business development at Anduril. “The Dive-LD’s fully autonomous seafloor asset health monitoring capabilities aren’t only critical to the future of offshore energy development but can deliver safer and more cost-efficient seafloor operations for multiple commercial and national security missions.”
“In order to achieve our national offshore wind goals we will need new innovative technologies to meet the opportunities and challenges ahead. The development of a long-range, long-endurance AUV for the offshore wind industry, and especially one that has been developed here in the United States, is critical to scaling and growing our industry,” said Damian Bednarz, managing director at Attentive Energy. “This partnership is beneficial for the US offshore wind industry as we adopt innovative solutions as we work to mature the domestic market.”