ECA Group adds wireless capability to Inspector MK2 autonomous vehicle


ECA Group has upgraded the capabilities of its unmanned surface vehicle (USV) Inspector MK2, which will enable it to provide faster data transfer links to other autonomous systems.

Inspector MK2's new abilities allow the vessel to transfer module data and communicate wirelessly with other unmanned vehicles.

The USV can also be used as an intelligent docking system for underwater drones such as autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) or remotely operated vehicles (ROVs).

This will enable the underwater autonomous systems to be deployed and recovered automatically, as well as facilitate more efficient recharging, data download and fast transits.

ECA Group’s USV inspector is equipped with acoustic modem and short baselines to enable underwater communications and positioning, which allows underwater inspection and intervention to be supervised by an operator placed in a safe spot.

In addition, the remote system can help in the precise detection of in-volume mines and obstacles such as nets via downward-looking sonars, which ensures safe AUV navigation.

"The new upgrade provides the USV with a wide range of possible communication architectures, including point-to-point (PTP), point-to-multi-point (PTMP) and multi-point interconnection (MESH)."

The new wireless communication solution is compatible with a multitude of antennas and has a large frequency spectrum, ranging from ultra-high frequency (UHF) to supra-high frequency (SHF)

The new upgrade provides the USV with a wide range of possible communication architectures, including point-to-point (PTP), point-to-multi-point (PTMP) and multi-point interconnection (MESH).

Inspector MK2's wireless link also provides the data bandwidth required to operate the remote vehicle and its mission modules up to a maximum line of sight (LoS) distance, or non-line of sight (NLoS) distance in the event of maritime traffic or land masking.

A maximum LoS distance of 10nm can be reached with an ashore antenna height of 15m, while a NLoS distance of 10nm miles can be reached despite a 50m height obstacle.


Image: ECA Group’s unmanned surface vehicle, InspectorMK2. Photo: courtesy of ECA Group.