July 22, 2019 – Kraken Robotics Inc. is pleased to announce that since July 18, ThayerMahan and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have conducted joint operations using Kraken’s sonar and laser scanning technologies. This follows a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) signed between Kraken and NOAAas well as Kraken’s strategic partnership signed with ThayerMahan, both in 2018.
NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER) and its partners, will conduct a technology demonstration using Kraken’s sonar and laser scanning technologies off the east coast of the United States, from Virginia to Rhode Island, on NOAA’s Ship Okeanos Explorer. The demonstration will test new and emerging technologies and evaluate how existing technologies could be integrated into NOAA operations. NOAA OER is the only federal program dedicated to exploring our deep ocean and improving our understanding of U.S. deep waters, providing information needed to strengthen the economy, health, and security of our nation. Technology demonstrations are necessary to further the OER objective of mapping and characterizing the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone by 2030. During the 2019 Technology Demonstration, at-sea and shore-based science teams will work together to explore the potential for new technologies and novel applications to contribute to greater scientific understanding and the exploration of our deep ocean.
The primary objectives of this demonstration are to test, integrate, and evaluate emerging and existing technologies for potential use in meeting the data requirements of OER, its partners, and the larger oceanographic research community. The secondary objective of this demonstration is to provide authoritative and actionable data to regional stakeholders. New technologies and novel integrations such as those being tested during this mission are expected to aid and accelerate the fulfillment of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER) objective to map and characterize the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone by 2030. The 2019 Technology Demonstration operations will also include mapping and remotely operated vehicle dives. The expedition, which will take place off the U.S. East Coast, from Virginia to Rhode Island, will be broken into two legs.
Leg 1: July 18 – July 24
Leg 1 operations will include the deployment of a REMUS 600 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) in partnership with the NOAA Office of Coast Survey (OCS) and a towed Kraken Robotics KATFISH™ with Synthetic Aperture Sonar in partnership with Kraken Robotics and ThayerMahan, Inc. Targets for testing these systems will focus on the U.S. northeast continental shelf and will include areas with limited bathymetric coverage, Underwater Cultural Heritage sites (UCH), and sites that were identified in the 2013 NOAA report, “Risk Assessment for Potentially Polluting Wrecks in U.S. Waters” . These systems will be deployed in concert with the Okeanos Explorer‘s suite of deep water mapping systems.
Leg 2: July 25 – August 1
During Leg 2, NOAA will test the integration of three technologies with OER’s ROV Deep Discoverer. These technologies include a 360-degree camera being developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a One-Way Travel-Time Inverted Ultra-Short Baseline navigation system from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and a Kraken Robotics SeaVision® 3D underwater laser scanner.
From July 18 to 24, members from ThayerMahan and Kraken Robotics are conducting joint operations to demonstrate the SeaScout® system with the KATFISH-180 actively stabilized towbody and synthetic aperture sonar payload. Imagery and bathymetric data will be streamed to ThayerMahan’s shore-based operations center located in Groton, CT enabling real-time viewing and analysis of survey returns. Targets will focus on the U.S. northeast continental shelf and range from areas with limited bathymetric coverage.
From July 25 to August 1, Kraken’s SeaVision® 3D underwater laser scanner will be one of three technologies integrated and trialed with OER’s ROV Deep Discoverer.ROV dives will target deep water coral and sponge communities and a UCH target that is potentially the USS Baldwin, a U.S. Navy destroyer active during World War II that was intentionally scuttled on June 6, 1961. ROV dives will take place off the coasts of New York, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.
In August 2018, Kraken signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the Office of Ocean Exploration and Research of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This partnership explores the application of Kraken’s underwater sensor and robotic technologies and systems to NOAA’s ocean observation charter in potentially more effective (less expensive, better results, more environmentally friendly) ways. This collaboration is directly responsive to NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research mission of reducing unknowns in deep-ocean areas and providing high-value environmental intelligence.
As a result of this CRADA, in 2018 a team from the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Kraken Robotics Inc., and the University of Rhode Island Applied History Lab (URI AHL) started a project to image, for the first time, all four of Rhode Island’s sunken historic submarines using Kraken’s Synthetic Aperture Sonar (SAS) system. During the first phase of the project, three of the four submarines were mapped (the submarines USS G-1, USS L-8, and German U-853), along with the U-853’s last World War II victim – a merchant ship called the Black Point.