Seatronics First to Order Sonardyne’s New SPRINT-Nav Navigator for VALOR ROV 

SPRINT-Nav Mini offers both the survey positional accuracy and a small form factor, ideal for small ROVs like the VALOR. (Image credit: Seatronics)

Subsea technology specialist Seatronics has been announced as the first customer for Sonardyne’s new SPRINT-Nav Mini Navigator, launched just one week ago. 

Seatronics has purchased the technology, the world’s smallest hybrid acoustic-inertial navigation instrument, for its VALOR remotely operated vehicle (ROV), itself designed to be the smallest, most powerful and capable inspection class ROV in its category.

SPRINT-Nav Mini Navigator will provide VALOR with accurate, precise and robust navigation and control, supporting Seatronics in its goals to further extend the boundaries of remote operations with tasks ranging from underwater inspection in lieu of dry-docking (UWILD) through to mine identification and destruction.

SPRINT-Nav Mini combines an INS, AHRS, pressure sensor and DVL in a single subsea housing depth rated to 300 m or 4,000 m and weighs as little as 3.6 kg in air. The new Navigator variant extends the capability of the Guidance model, introduced in 2020, by calculating and providing the position of a remote, autonomous or piloted underwater vehicle, or uncrewed surface vehicle, in addition to its velocity, depth and attitude.

The cost and complexity of integrating third-party sensors is a key consideration for robotic vehicle builders and owners. SPRINT-Nav Mini addresses these needs with a compact, all-in-one design that requires only one cable connection, is supplied with a full integration guide, and is cheaper than the separate sensors it replaces. And unlike other MEMS-based sensors, SPRINT-Nav Mini’s performance is not impaired by magnetic interference when operating close to structures such as an underwater dock.

VALOR already offers an advanced capability for its size, with a 40Gbp MUX capacity allowing it to accommodate the most modern, high bandwidth survey sensors. Equipping it with SPRINT-Nav Mini Navigator further differentiates it from similar-sized platforms, providing a significantly more flexible, configurable inspection platform that can undertake a variety of tasks that would typically be associated with much larger ROV systems.

Derek Donaldson, Seatronics’ Group Managing Director, says, “Specifying payload sensors for a vehicle like VALOR often requires a trade-off between accuracy, performance, price and ownership. SPRINT-Nav Mini offers both the survey positional accuracy our clients are looking for, and a small form factor that we can fit and put straight to work. Another key reason for investing in SPRINT-Nav Mini is our ongoing relationship with Sonardyne. We knew that we would be fully supported in our concept to push the boundaries of remote operations from a small ROV solution by the Sonardyne team. This is critical when adopting new technology for a new platform.”

Jose Puig, Regional Sales Manager, Asia, at Sonardyne, says, “VALOR has been designed to be a versatile platform in terms of its operability, including remote operation, over-the-horizon control combined with supervised autonomy for enhanced inspection experiences. SPRINT-Nav Mini Navigator will support those operations, whether that’s from a quayside, vessel or uncrewed surface vessel (USV), providing a flexible solution to Seatronics’ customers.”

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