Kongsberg Discovery Introduces a New Analysis Tool Developed in Partnership with Cathx Ocean

(Image credit: Kongsberg Discovery)

The Norwegian ocean-technology company, Kongsberg Discovery, introduces a new analysis tool developed in partnership with underwater imaging specialist Cathx Ocean that radically reduces the time and effort required to detect and classify objects of interest in seabed surveys undertaken by Kongsberg's market leading HUGIN autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), reducing costs for survey owners and freeing up valuable resources to focus on more important tasks.

Kongsberg HISAS scans of the seafloor contain extensive visual information that requires a highly trained eye to manually detect objects of interest. This time-consuming process ties up valuable resources in sonar image analysis.

Automating the object identification process using the novel SAS Target Assistant provides major workflow benefits in terms of earlier decision-making. The application runs in the background providing consistent and reliable detection, leaving users to focus their mental capacity on the most valuable task of evaluating and classifying the potential objects of interest.

“In conventional survey analysis, the operator has to laboriously play through the scanned image data, tagging then measuring and classifying objects of interest and, finally, building a target list that can be exported. SAS Target Assistant automatically detects and measures objects of interest and creates a target list for review/confirmation, further analysis, and export,” said Adrian Boyle, CEO of Cathx Ocean.

The tool allows users to predefine the desired characteristics (size and shape of objects) they require to rapidly identify targets matching such specifications.

“Leaving the tedious work of initial scanning to the algorithm frees up human personnel to concentrate on more complex, high-value analysis tasks while speeding up the delivery of survey results. With longer-duration AUV missions, as well as increases in the area and frequency of surveys being asked of AUV operators, time literally is money,” Mr. Boyle added.

SAS Target Assistant requires no additional window or display/monitor, as it is fully integrated into the Reflection PMA system. “It’s a great example of how machine learning and sensor intelligence can be used to simplify often demanding workflows, reducing the burden on human operators while also producing reliable results according to survey specifications and deadlines,” Sigurd Fjerdingen, VP Products in Kongsberg Discovery, said.

HUGIN AUVs have been successfully deployed for commercial surveys and defense operations worldwide in both shallow and deep water in marine environments ranging from polar to tropical.

The partnership with Cathx Ocean aims to change how these AUV surveys are performed today and into the future. The collaboration serves as blueprint for further co-development initiatives to enhance the HUGIN Open Data Processing ecosystem. “Working with specialist partners is the most efficient way to develop new robust applications that cater to ever-evolving market requirements. By introducing SAS Target Assistant, we can supercharge survey analysis for customers while reinforcing the exemplary operational record of HUGIN vehicles over the last quarter century,” Mr. Fjerdingen concluded.

For more information, visit the Kongsberg Discovery stand (D600) at the Oceanology International exhibition in London on 12-14 March.

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