Seafloor Systems, a hydrographic surveying company, partnered with Ouster to include OS-series lidar on its autonomous near shore vessel.
The companies' autonomous vessels are usually used for mapping lakes, rivers, and seabeds, but also come into play for less common missions. These include the inspection of aqueduct systems or a recent project in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The USGS contracted Seafloor Systems to provide two custom-built HydroCat-180 unmanned surface vessels (USVs). These will be used to precisely monitor the flow rate and depth of water in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in California. The received information is used to investigate the effects of saltwater intrusion on animals and plants.
Whereas manned survey missions previously took more than half an hour to complete in the specified area, Seafloor Systems' unmanned vessels benefit from a 95% improved track line. The required time is therefore reduced to about 50%. This is not only highly efficient but also crucial to guarantee the accuracy of the data as water levels can change in a matter of minutes in tidally influenced regions.
Ouster lidar for navigation
With the OS1 lidar sensor onboard, the HydroCat 180 vessel can navigate fully autonomously around its environment with maximum safety. According to Seafloor Systems, a key factor for choosing Ouster was the reliability of the sensor even in harsh conditions, due to the extensive real-world testing. Ouster sensors are also valuable for future integration of add-on sensors. Apart from that, they are currently deployed in real-world applications instead of only being tested in an R&D environment.
“Ouster is positioned to provide support to vehicle autonomy applications, which aligns with our goals for the near future. They beat up their products to the equivalent degree that our customers will put them through. Their testing is translated in real-world scenario terms instead of just specs on a sheet.” – Seafloor Systems
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