NOAA Upgrades ASV Fleet with EchoBoat-240
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Navigation Response Branch (NRB) has upgraded its Autonomous Surface Vehicle (ASV) fleet with the purchase of a Seafloor Systems EchoBoat-240 ASV. While intended for emergency response and shallow water feature investigations, the NRB will also evaluate the ASV for potential use as a “force multiplier” during more traditional NRT hydrographic surveys.
The new ASV will be used to collect bathymetric and imagery data in support of post-storm and other emergency response surveys. In addition, the vehicle may be used for special hydrographic projects like marine debris and habitat mapping.
The EchoBoat-240 ASV, compared to NOAA’s EchoBoat-160 currently in use, offers notable improvements, including a larger wave-piercing displacement hull, waterproof lithium-ion batteries, SmartCastTM automated SVP winch system, and individual servo-controlled thrusters. These upgrades will allow the EchoBoat-240 to operate in a wider range of sea states with increased endurance, efficiency, and safety. The expanded capability of this platform enables deployment during emergencies and other survey operations where the current vehicle, nor crewed boats, can deliver the level of safety and efficiency desired.
Background: NOAA’s Navigation Response Branch (NRB) operates mobile hydrographic surveying units known as Navigation Response Teams (NRTs). These teams deploy to coastal areas to conduct hydrographic surveys after severe weather events. The surveys can identify obstructions that may impede maritime operations and commerce. The NRB’s currently owned Echoboat-160 ASV is deployed from NRT survey vessels, vessels of opportunity, or from the shore to collect bathymetric and imagery data. The ASV collects data in shallow water and other areas deemed unsafe for navigation by traditional survey vessels. The data collected by this ASV is used to “clean up” NOAA’s navigational charts by confirming or disproving charted wrecks, rocks, and other obstructions. The vessel also collects data in emergency response scenarios to reopen vital ports and waterways. The upgrades included on the EchoBoat-240 will increase NOAA’s uncrewed survey capabilities for emergency scenarios of the future.
Official Seafloor Press Release: