Greensea Systems, Inc., a developer of technology for Unmanned Underwater Vehicles, installed its advanced ROV control system, Balefire, on a Saab Seaeye Falcon DR owned by SeaView Systems, Inc. SeaView supported NOAA earlier this summer in the multibeam survey of several shipwrecks in Thunderbay National Marine Sanctuary, Lake Huron, Michigan. To successfully complete the survey, it was required the vehicle be able to correlate navigation data and multibeam data accurately, hold station to allow for close-up camera inspection and conduct automated surveys at constant speeds and planned line spacings. Balefire provides for these capabilities and Greensea worked with SeaView to install and test the system in less than a week in preparation for the survey.
Combined with a FOG-based INS developed by Greensea, the Balefire control system added autopilots, station keeping, dynamic positioning, autonomous control modes, path following, mission planning and sensor fusion to the basic Falcon DR ROV system. Balefire provides these functions in a powerful operator workspace that gives pilots an intuitive and powerful interface. Greensea integrated its standard Balefire product to the Falcon ROV by developing a simple software driver for the Falcon handbox controller. No modifications were made to the ROV with the exception of installing the INS. The small Balefire computer simply interfaced with the handbox and the topside interface unit of the Falcon.
SeaView completed the survey for NOAA and delivered superior quality multibeam and video data efficiently and cost effectively with their Falcon system. "Mission planning and operations were a breeze. Not only does Greensea's [Balefire] control system enhance the efficiency of the project, it enhances the efficiency of the ROV by reducing the wear of the thrusters. Integrating the control system will reduce project costs and vehicle maintenance," said Geoff Cook, Operations Manager for SeaView.
Balefire is the new commercial ROV control system product built on the openSEA software architecture which provides robust ROV automation and a powerful operator workspace. Greensea provides the Falcon interface as a standard configuration for Balefire.