New Robotic Survey Techniques to Monitor Changes in Hayle Harbor, UK

Hayle Harbor Authority has partnered with Unmanned Survey Solutions (USS) to help with the development of robotic vessels in performing hydrographic surveys in Hayle Harbor.  

The aim is to monitor the effects of dredging, sluicing and periodic natural changes to the depths of the harbor in fulfilment of its conservancy requirements, and ensure safe operation to harbor users.

Unmanned Survey Solutions (USS) are based on North Quay, Hayle.  They design, build and operate Unmanned Surface Vessels (USV’s) or ‘robotic boats’ and are often out testing new systems in local waters with permission from the Harbor Authority. During these trials, hydrographic data is collected, which provides the Authority with updated charts.  

Hayle Harbor Master, Peter Haddock explains: “Regular surveying of the harbour helps us to fulfil our conservancy duties, but also to closely monitor our dredge operations.  By using the data gathered by USS, we can direct that operation and reduce any risk to harbor users.’’

James Williams, Director of USS, commented: “Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) operations in busy waters can be challenging, especially during the tourist season.  This is exacerbated with high tidal ranges and areas of shoaling throughout the harbor at low water.  

“By working closely with Peter and his team, we have been able to develop safe working procedures for our vessels.  We also manage to time our testing activities to coincide with pre and post dredging operations, so that we can effectively inform the Authority on the effects these dredging activities are having on the environment.”

Hayle Harbor Authority and USS intend to map the harbor every three months throughout 2020 to gain detailed insights into how the harbor changes throughout the seasons.  

USS are developing larger USV’s, and they plan to monitor dynamic changes to the entrance channel and the shallow outer sand bar over the next 12 months.

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