Subsea Asset Tracking Demo for Polish Naval Academy
iXblue and ECA Group have demonstrated successful subsea asset tracking for the Polish Naval Academy in shallow waters using the iXblue Gaps M7 USBL (ultrashort baseline) positioning system and ECA Group’s new R7 ROV.
Hosted by local partner THESTA, a Polish company providing maritime navigation services and communication systems for the defense sector, the demonstration was organized for the Polish Naval Academy and NAVSUP 2022 attendees with the aim of showing that accurate positioning of underwater targets is possible in a potentially hostile and fast-approaching environment, in coastal regions characterized by shallow waters and often limited access.
As part of the mission scenario, ECA Group’s R7 ROV investigated objects and structures submerged in the shallow waters of the Baltic Sea in Gdynia Harbor. iXblue’s Gaps M7 USBL acoustic positioning system was deployed to geolocate the R7 ROV and correct its trajectory in real time. A fixed transponder was also placed several hundreds of meters away from the vessel, at only 5 m deep. The trials were carried out in water depths of 7 to 10 m, surrounded by many docks and vessels causing significant acoustic echoes.
Despite challenging acoustic conditions, the positioning of the ROV and the transponder was stable and accurate. Extremely efficient in shallow waters, Gaps M7 ensured excellent horizontal tracking capabilities with omnidirectional coverage and 200° acoustic aperture. With no calibration required, it was easy to deploy and ready to use, saving precious operational time in the field.
The ROV inspection was successful despite the low visibility. Such environments make the use of traditional cameras impossible, but the HD acoustic inspection camera provided high-resolution data with superior localization accuracy. The R7 combines the compactness and maneuverability of mini-ROVs with the performance and power of professional observation-class ROVs. It embeds a wide range of fast-equipped payloads and operates well under harsh sea conditions, making it suitable for efficient subsea interventions.