St John’s, Newfoundland-based Kraken Sonar has announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Kraken Sonar Systems, has been awarded a non-refundable financial contribution of C$745,950 by the Research & Development Corporation (RDC) of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Kraken’s funding contribution was provided under RDC’s SensorTECH programme, which supports sensor research, development and demonstration in simulated and real operating environments. The funding will support development of Kraken’s ThunderFish autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) programme over the next two years.
ThunderFish will combine smart sonar, laser and optical sensors, advanced pressure-to-lerant battery and thruster technologies and artificial intelligence algorithms integrated on board a cost-effective 6,000m depth-rated AUV. Karl Kenny, president and CEO of Kraken Sonar, said, “We are very grateful to RDC for its support of our efforts and appreciate the thorough review of our development programme.
This funding will help maintain the excellent momentum we have been building over the past two years in underwater robotics.”
The global AUV market is experiencing an advanced rate of growth as a result of increasing demand in military, commercial and scientific research applications. Significant growth is expected in the commercial sector, predominately from oil and gas operators – despite the volatility of oil prices. There has also been substantial interest in the technology from the offshore renewable energy sector, where operators have begun to understand the cost-saving potential of AUVs for inspection of underwater assets.
Research from industry analyst Technavio forecasts that the global AUV market is expected to increase from US$600 million in 2015 to more than US$2 billion by 2020, with all sectors experiencing growth.