skip to main content

Dstl funds Sonardyne, SeeByte for Phase 2 of Autonomy in Challenging Environments competition

The UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has funded maritime technology group Sonardyne and software house SeeByte to develop technology to enhance and extend the future operational capability of autonomous and remotely operated systems in challenging battlespace domains.

The collaboration, which will involve demonstrations using assets from the Royal Navy's Project Wilton mine countermeasures (MCM) capability, represents the second phase of the UK Defence and Security Accelerator‘s (DASA‘s) Autonomy in Challenging Environments competition, and builds on the work both Sonardyne and SeeByte undertook in Phase 1. The activity will culminate in a series of in-water demonstrations at facilities in the UK.

Under Phase 2 of Autonomy in Challenging Environments, Sonardyne's advanced underwater positioning system will be teamed with adaptive, communication-aware, robotic behaviour developed by SeeByte for its Neptune Autonomy Software. The project will enable optimal uncrewed underwater vehicle distribution for improved subsea communications and navigation in a range of challenging environments.

Neptune has been designed to enable uncrewed maritime systems to operate in highly complex, variable, and communications-limited environments. Automatic target-recognition imagery snippets will be transferred acoustically using SeeByte's novel semantic compression software.

As part of the project, Sonardyne and SeeByte will be using surface and underwater autonomous systems from Project Wilton, based at HM Naval Base, Clyde. Achieving initial operating capability in 2020, Project Wilton delivers a portable route survey capability, based on maritime autonomous systems, for operations north of the Dee-Humber line.

Sonardyne will install a Mini-Ranger 2 underwater positioning system onboard Project Wilton's ARCIMS uncrewed surface vehicle RNMB Harrier , and AvTrak 6 Nano telemetry and tracking transceivers to Project Wilton's Iver 3 autonomous underwater vehicles. These will be managed by SeeByte's autonomous networked acoustic communication system.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...