In 2016 Hush Craft Ltd were approached by GEBCO-Nippon Foundation Alumni Team to assist their team in the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE competition. Hush Craft were responsible for designing, manufacturing and operating the unmanned surface vehicle ’SEA-KIT’. After two and a half years of planning and hard work the team have just completed our submission for the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE competition finals, which are currently underway in Greece.
The Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE competition will accelerate innovation for rapid and unmanned exploration of the uncharted deep-sea; catalyze markets in deep ocean exploration and discovery; encourage sustainable resource development and protection; illuminate the most mysterious part of the planet and ignite the public imagination. Hush Craft Ltd’s ability to be a one stop shop for designing, developing and operating makes us perfectly suited for such a challenge.
SEA-KIT’s unmanned capabilities feature the ability to control the vessel from an operation centre, located anywhere in the world, no matter the distance from the vessel. This ability for remote operation has also been extended to surveying equipment on board, which includes state of the art MBES systems. SEA-KIT achieves this through its ability to stream live data to the operation centre via multiple satellite links.
Being a truly unmanned but fully compliant vessel provides SEA-KIT with a large variety of economic and environmental benefits compared to a typical research vessel. By eliminating the need for an on-board crew, the vessel size is reduced. The reduced vessel size combined with the hybrid diesel-electric propulsion system results in an approximated fuel reduction of 95%, which in turn significantly reduces the cost of data acquisition.
The images show the underside of SEA-KIT. Here you can see the gondola fitted to house the multibeam and HiPAP for communicating with the AUV from the control centre.
On Friday the 9th of November at 03.00AM, after two and a half years of continual research, designing, planning and testing, SEA-KIT embarked on her mission in the finals of the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE competition. The aim of her mission was to map at least 250 km2 to 500 km2 at depths of 2,000 m to 4,000 m.
SEA-KIT arrived back to shore at 13.30PM on Saturday the 10th of November, 35 hours after her departure. She had completed her mission perfectly to plan, with no physical human interaction. After the data was processed, the team presented their data submission to the XPRIZE judges and are now patiently awaiting the results.
SEA-KIT would like to thank the GEBCO-Nippon Foundation Alumni for including us as part of the team and to the Nippon Foundation for their continued support over the past two years. It has been a privilege for SEA-KIT to be part of such a ground breaking and exciting project.
What’s next for SEA-KIT?
SEA-KIT International Ltd is building on the foundations laid down by the XPRIZE competition, developing and conducting safe offshore operations and successfully ensuring that the original objectives of SEA-KIT are realised whilst exploring both scientific and commercial opportunities. Working with the GEBCO-NF Alumni team, associates and future clients to benefit great projects such as Seabed 2030, SEA-KIT International Ltd has several exciting opportunities to come in the new year.
We are keen to push new boundaries in many more marine sectors, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The finals of the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE competition are finally complete for the SEA-KIT™ and GEBCO-NF Alumni team. The passion and determination that all members of the team gave resulted in the finals running very smoothly and to plan. Now we patiently await the results and everyone in the team can catch up on some well earned rest. The article linked bellow was written by managing director of Hush Craft Ltd, Benjamin Simpson, giving details of the final mission and how it went.
On the 19th of September 2018, Sea-Kit received a visit from the Department for Transport UK out in Horten, Norway where Sea-Kit is currently based. The visit started with an introduction to the minds behind Sea-Kit including Ben Simpson, managing director and Ash Skett, operations manager both for Hush Craft. The DfT team had a look around the base in Horten and were then shown a demonstration of Sea-Kit. The team was shown how Sea-Kit can be controlled remotely when near the vessel or for more manoeuvrability and convenience could be controlled via satellite from anywhere, not needing to be near the vessel. We were able to demonstrate this by using our equipment within the base in Horten. It was very important for us to show the team a demonstration as it bought everything they had heard to life, and they were able to witness Sea-Kit with their own eyes. After the demonstration the team had the chance to speak to the Sea-Kit team more, we were able to explain and discuss the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE competition and our road to getting to the finals. It was important for us to explain our plans for Sea-Kit after the competition and the direction we want to head in. We would like to thank the Department for Transport for taking time out of their week to come and visit us, it was a great pleasure.
We are taking SEA-KIT™ to the Oceanology International Show at Excel that is running between the 12th and 15th March 2018.
We will be with our technology partners Kongsberg Maritime on their show stand (D600) and will be displaying SEA-KIT™ in the dock area of Excel.
To be able to showcase SEA-KIT™ at a show such as Oceanology International is a huge honour for us and we are looking forward to seeing as many people as possible. It appears as if this is going to be a busy show for us!
Contact us at info@SEA-KIT.com to arrange a meeting and we look forward to seeing you there!
As part of the GEBCO-NF Alumni Team competing in the Shell OCEAN DISCOVERY XPRIZE, the SEA-KIT™ USV/AUV concept has been proven. It was shown that an Autonomous Surface Vessel can act as the mothership for an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle to perform high quality Bathymetry.
Using the Kongsberg Maritime HUGIN 1000 AUV, the team demonstrated the ability to perform an unmanned, long duration, high-quality sea bed mapping mission controlled entirely by the SEA-KIT™ USV. This mission profile included recovering the HUGIN AUV at night and in challenging sea conditions.
The team had to capture and process all data within a 36hr period to be matched against the established base map for comparison.
All requirements for the Mission were performed successfully and we look forward to being invited back for Round 2 once all Round 1 entries have been completed and the Judges decisions have been finalised.
SEA-KIT International is very proud that the team were able to demonstrate this bleeding edge technical capability and especially to have done so under such challenging conditions. Offshore on a Norwegian winter’s night is definitely a time that unmanned operations are appreciated!
We wish all other competitors the best of luck and we look forward to the challenges to come!
It is currently a very special time for SEA-KIT International.
Our amazing piece of Autonomous Ocean-going technology has not only been delivered but amazingly she has arrived on time and on-budget too!
SEA-KIT is an industry changing piece of technology designed to not only autonomously map the world’s oceans, but also provide a platform for a huge range of mission possibilities in a wide range of sectors.
Testing and developing any new and ground-breaking concept can often be a fraught affair, but in this case it has been a calm and controlled process which has produced some remarkable achievements.
This week has seen the first time that a large Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) was able to be recovered by an unmanned vessel and demonstrated an ability that many have put on the “too difficult” pile. This is a remarkable achievement.
When developing advanced capabilities, you never quite know how things will go, so when you see something just do exactly what it was designed to do it is a huge relief!
Huge thanks must go to Hushcraft Ltd who designed and built SEA-KIT so successfully, Ocean Floor Geophysics who own and operate the HUGIN AUV and Kongsberg Maritime who have provided the K-MATE autonomy controller.
SEA-KIT International launched the first of the SEA-KIT class of vessels the USV MAXLIMER on the 1st September 2017 and have completed initial sea trials in the U.K before moving to Horten, Norway to commence the AUV launch, tracking and recovery programme.
This phase of testing will demonstrate SEA-KIT’s ability to act as an AUV mothership and encompasses a full testing programme with the Kongsberg Maritime Hugin AUV.
SEA-KIT is working with Kongsberg Maritime, Hushcraft, Ocean Floor Geophysics and the GEBCO-Nippon Foundation Alumni team to demonstrate the capability to autonomously map large areas of the ocean floor in a short period of time. The current goal is to map 100 sq.km at 2000m water depth in a 24hr period at high resolution. This includes the data capture and analysis.
This capability is due to be demonstrated during the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE.
Kongsberg Maritime: Kongsberg K-MATE Autonomy Controller for New USV-AUV Platform
Press Release • Aug 09, 2017 12:16 BST
Kongsberg, Norway, 9th August 2017 – K-MATE, an autonomous surface vehicle control system, the latest marine robotics innovation from KONGSBERG, is to be integrated with SEA-KIT, a new class of Maritime Autonomous Surface Vessel being built by UK manufacturer, Hushcraft, and operated by SEA-KIT International.
SEA-KIT is a USV that can carry a deployable and retrievable payload of up to 2.5 tons. It is based on the AUV-USV concept, which could lead to more efficient, safer and cost-effective seafloor mapping operations, as well as providing a platform for numerous applications in a wide range of maritime sectors.
The SEA-KIT vessel provides a next generation, long-range, long-endurance ocean capability that does not exist today. It is able to operate without assistance for months at a time and is the first of a new generation of craft that can truly operate independently.
K-MATE is capable of being integrated with almost any vessel via an electrical interface. It provides adaptive waypoint following for survey and AUV operations while accepting sensor data for scene analysis and collision avoidance. K-MATE is an autonomous system designed to follow mission plans, in addition to providing global supervised operations or even direct operator control for complex tasks.
K-MATE is the common autonomous control engine to be used by unmanned and autonomous vessels delivered by Kongsberg Maritime including the fully electric container feeder; YARA Birkeland. It has been developed by the Kongsberg Maritime Subsea Division in Horten, Norway in conjunction with FFI, the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment and is the result of a long and fruitful history of joint development projects, including the HUGIN AUV System.
In addition to the K-MATE autonomy controller solution, SEA-KIT will be equipped with Kongsberg’s Maritime Broadband Radio (MBR) for high bandwidth direct communication to shore, SeaPath 135 with an MRU5+ for heading, attitude and positioning and the AIS300 Automatic Positioning System. KONGSBERG’s HiPAP acoustic positioning and control system will be used to supervise AUV operations.
SEA-KIT’s two-system AUV-USV configuration provides the unique ability to carry a Kongsberg HUGIN AUV. In parallel with these AUV capabilities, SEA-KIT’s hull is designed to have different payloads installed including KONGSBERG’s proven range of multibeam echo sounders such as the EM302. SEA-KIT also has extended endurance options, making it the first autonomous boat capable of trans-ocean survey operations.
SEA-KIT is due to be launched this September. Its first task is to compete in the $7 million Dollar Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, a global competition with the aim of advancing deep-sea technologies for autonomous, fast and high-resolution ocean exploration. It will be managed by the GEBCO-NF Alumni Team, led by alumni of The Nippon Foundation/General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO) Postgraduate Certificate in Ocean Bathymetric Training Programme, run at the Centre for Coastal and Ocean Mapping at the University of New Hampshire, USA – now in its thirteenth year. All alumni hold positions in their own countries’ maritime industries. GEBCO is the only organisation with a mandate to map the entirety of the world’s ocean floors.
The Nippon Foundation, Japan’s largest private philanthropic foundation with a long history of involvement in maritime issues, has agreed to provide more than US $3 million to assist with concept development and the design of new technology to be utilised in the semi-final stage of the competition by the GEBCO-NF Alumni Team. The Chairman of The Nippon Foundation, Mr Yohei Sasakawa, recently launched NF-GEBCO Seabed 2030 – with the challenge to map the world’s ocean floors by the year 2030.
SEA-KIT has been built by Hushcraft in the UK. The GEBCO-NF Alumni Team will utilise a HUGIN AUV which has been provided by Ocean Floor Geophysics and the data work flow and data processing development to meet the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE requirements is being undertaken with assistance from Teledyne CARIS.
For further information, please contact:
Katharina H. Nygaard
Tel: +47 3303 4100