HUGIN – best at great depths

HUGIN Autonomous Underwater Vehicle. As the only Autonomous Underwater Vehicle in the world, HUGIN can survey the seabed at depths down to 4500 metres and can locate small objects under water where other technology does not stand a chance.

With the ability and expertise to industrialise advanced technology and market the products at the international level, KONGSBERG has helped ensure that the autonomous underwater vehicle HUGIN has become a success in commercial and military markets alike.

Collectively, the HUGIN has surveyed and covered a distance of more than 120 000 kilometres on the seabed for offshore survey companies. That corresponds to a voyage roughly three times around the equator! The ocean floor has been surveyed in the run-up to the development of Åsgard, Snøhvit, Ormen Lange and most of the world's other deepwater oil fields. The world's largest survey enterprises, Fugro of the Netherlands and Geoconsult of Norway, operate HUGIN vessels all over the world.

Surveying the seabed at a depth of 4500 metres

Moreover, the US enterprise C & C Technologies of Lafayette, near Houston, Texas, in the process of buying its third HUGIN, a HUGIN 4500."HUGIN obtains such high quality data from the seabed that we can give the oil companies detailed maps all the way down to depths of 4500 metres", reports Pete Alleman, responsible for seabed surveying at C & C Technologies. The company has used HUGIN to map the seabed for oil companies that operate in West Africa, the Gulf of Mexico, Brazil, Mediterranean and in Australia. In addition, they use HUGIN to check on installations that are already installed under water.

This autumn, the brothers Pete and Dave Alleman of C & C Technologies visited Horten, Norway to accept delivery of the company's third underwater vehicle. To help our customers operate the vessels more easily, Kongsberg Maritime invited customers to take part in the assembly and testing of the HUGIN.

Best in depth test

KONGSBERG is the only player in the commercial market that can supply autonomous underwater vehicles for surveying the seabed down to a depth of 4500 m.

For C & C Technologies, the autonomous underwater vehicles have been an unconditional success. Just 5-6 years ago, they put their proprietary technology on the shelf and chose to focus on KONGSBERG's HUGIN AUV 3000 (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle). They never regretted that decision.

"HUGIN is better, faster and less expensive than any other underwater vehicle. It maps the details of the seabed at half the price and one quarter of the time of other underwater vehicles", reports Dave Alleman, responsible for procuring the HUGIN 4500.

In addition to HUGIN providing significantly more accurate surveys, the autonomous vessel is much faster."What we used to spend 2 to 3 weeks surveying now takes just five days with the HUGIN. This helps us economise on development projects and installations on the seabed", says Dave Alleman

Joint project

HUGIN was developed in collaboration with the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment, the Royal Norwegian Navy, Statoil and Kongsberg Maritime. This cooperation was initiated in 1995, and in 1997 the first HUGIN was used commercially in the North Sea. In 2004, the first prototype of the HUGIN 1000 was installed on the KNM Karmøy for military application (mine hunting).

"HUGIN is a so-called autonomous vessel. This means that it can be operated on its own without being remotely controlled from a surface vessel. For navigating and surveying the seabed, the HUGIN is equipped with a number of different sensors such as a gyroscope and accelerometer for inertial navigation, a Doppler log to measure the vessel's speed relative to the seabed, and one or more multi-beam sonar systems for surveying and photographing the seabed, as well as a hydroacoustics positioning system (HIPAP)", recounts Karstein Vestgård, head of the AUV Department at Kongsberg Maritime.Not only does the new HUGIN AUV 4500 dive 1.5 kilometres further down to survey the seabed down to a depth of 4500 m, the technology has been improved further.

"For example, we have increased battery capacity by 30 per cent and installed more advanced sonar and echo sounder systems with higher resolution and more accurate measurements", points out Vestgård.

No innovation without industrial expertise

In the commercial market, HUGIN represents a major improvement in the efficiency and precision of the survey material that the companies deliver to the oil companies. For the crew aboard the mine hunter, the HUGIN creates a sense of safety on the KNM Karmøy. With the vessel on board, they create a distance between themselves and potential mines. Moreover, the time needed to find mines and to determine the type of mine has been reduced considerably," says Vestgård

"Even though new technology has been the driving force in the innovation process, HUGIN would not have been a world leader on the commercial market and an ambassador for Norway in NATO's struggle against underwater mines without considerable industrial strength", points out Rolf Arne Klepaker, head of the subsea division in Kongsberg Maritime.

"Industrialising the product and having an established international customer network in which to market the product are decisive to creating innovation", he underlines.

Developed for civilian and military markets alike

The special thing about HUGIN is that it was developed to meet military and commercial markets alike.

"The two markets have had and have mutual benefits from each other. The commercial market would not have been big enough in itself, and it would not have engendered sufficient profitability for Kongsberg Maritime", concludes Klepaker.

Both Klepaker and Vestgård recognise new opportunities for HUGIN on the commercial and military markets alike.

"We have great faith that oceanography and environmental monitoring will be new and important markets for HUGIN, with special emphasis on the High North. Moreover, most of the advanced navies have programmes on the use of HUGIN-type technology that represents a very interesting market opportunity within the military market", underlines Klepaker, who forecasts a bright future for the HUGIN.