HUGIN Endurance is an advanced autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) developed by Kongsberg Maritime. Credit: KONGSBERG.
The remote operations of the AUV are supported by Kognifai infrastructure. Credit: KONGSBERG.
HUGIN Endurance is the latest member of the HUGIN family of autonomous underwater vehicles. Credit: KONGSBERG.

HUGIN Endurance is a next-generation autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) developed by Norwegian marine technology company Kongsberg Maritime for extended operations in deep-sea environments.

Unveiled in February 2021, the HUGIN Endurance is the latest variant of the HUGIN AUV family. It enables unsupervised shore-to-shore operations over long ranges and offers a low carbon footprint for commercial surveys.

The AUV can be used for a range of different missions, including long-range military survey, wide area mine detection, patrolling maritime choke points to detect submarines and classification and identification.

Design and features of the HUGIN Endurance AUV

The HUGIN Endurance AUV measures 10m long and can be transported in a standard shipping container.

The tail section of the vehicle consists of contra-rotating dual propellers and fins which wrap over the ends of the blades to offer protection.

Equipped with autonomous decision-making capability, the AUV can operate for several days without human intervention by using underwater and surface awareness sensors. The underwater vehicle can control mission execution and handle unexpected events and failure modes while switching between redundant modes of operation.

The AUV has the ability to collect large amounts of data, which can be stored on redundant media with the possibility to encrypt the data while at rest. Collected data is safely transferred to the remote operating centre through the Cloud. Secure communication between the AUV and the remote control centre is provided through the Kognifai infrastructure.

The AUV’s design allows for data integration with other platforms based on customer requirements.

HUGIN Endurance AUV payloads

The AUV can carry different sensors including HISAS1032 dual receiver synthetic aperture sonar and EM2040 dual receiver multi-beam echo sounder for accurate seabed mapping and inspection.

The HISAS1032 dual receiver on board the vehicle can generate a 1,000m swath at 2.5k with a typical resolution of 5cm×5cm for synthetic aperture sonar imagery. The EM2040 dual receiver offers a swath coverage sector of up to 170° with a single receiver, as well as refined software processing algorithms for improved data quality.

The combined bathymetry swath from both the EM2040 and HISAS 1032 can generate 20cm resolution across a 750m wide swath when travelling at 3.5k and 40m altitude. Together, the sensors have the potential to map an area of up to 1,100km² on a single mission.

Navigation and communications

Navigation aid for the underwater vehicle is provided by KONGSBERG Sunstone inertial navigation system (INS), which uses HISAS micro navigation, terrain-referenced navigation and single transponder navigation and is useful for unsupervised operations.

The latest member of the HUGIN AUV family is fitted with a maritime broadband radio (MBR) communications system, which allows it to surface and quickly transmit huge amounts of data to various sources, such as other vessels, shore stations or wind turbines with MBR antennas.

The AUV uses surface awareness sensors to avoid other marine traffic while communicating with the remote operating centre.

Instruments onboard HUGIN Endurance

The HUGIN Endurance underwater vehicle can be integrated with various environmental and third-party sensors. For mapping and inspection purposes, the AUV uses hydro-acoustic instruments such as the HISAS family of synthetic aperture sonars and EM family of multibeam echo sounders.

The AUV also incorporates traditional side-scan sonars, sub-bottom profilers, scientific multibeam echo sounders and other active and passive payload sensors to meet specific mission requirements.

Propulsion and performance

Powered by the advanced, pressure-tolerant Li-Ion battery, the underwater vehicle can undertake extensive missions of up to 15 days without the support of a mothership. It has an operating depth rating of 6,000m and is capable of conducting missions up to a range of 2,200km.