IIT-Madras develops solar-powered unmanned survey craft – Times of India

Chennai News

CHENNAI: IIT-M has developed a solar-powered unmanned autonomous survey craft to do hydrographic and oceanographic surveys in Indian ports and inland waterways. This has the potential to offer an indegenous alternative to the expensive foreign vessels used currently.
The boat-like craft, that can be operated in manual mode by a remote control or as a fully autonomous vessel, can be used for autonomous surveys to measure depth of water and underwater topography at ports, harbours, waterways, dams, lakes, lagoons and other shallow water zones and transmit data real-time over longer distances. It can also be used to study different properties of the ocean. Since it is solar-powered, it can stay longer at sea.
It was tested off Chennai coast at Kamarajar port. Further field trials under harsher environments have been scheduled this month at Kolkata port, said a press release.
The craft is equipped with echo sounder, GPS system and broadband communication technology to make precise depth measurements and transmit the data. More equipment could be added like equipment to measure current and velocity, a 360-degree camera, LiDAR for seamless topography and bathymetry measurements.
It will help to meet the increasing demands for volume and efficiency as ships are becoming larger, with maximum loading to ensure efficient operations, he added.
The craft will also help port administrators to overcome challenges like slowing down of traffic and accidents due to surveys, need for vessels to carry out surveys in shallow areas and the high cost of doing periodic survey of shipping channels.
K Murali, professor in-charge, NTCPWC, IIT-M, said “This is a leap towards indigenization of the Indian maritime sector, which is currently dominated by foreign technology. The craft is capable of delivering precise and accurate depth measurements even in very shallow waters. The craft can undertake autonomous hydrography surveys at different times of the day to identify the navigable paths that can be used for operational window and navigational guidance.”
The autonomous craft was developed by a research team at National Technology Centre for Ports, Waterways and Coasts (NTCPWC) in IIT Madras. They are in the process of commercializing the technology with the help of the ministry of shipping and IIT Madras Incubation Cell.

Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/iit-madras-develops-solar-powered-unmanned-survey-craft/articleshow/79381534.cms