OSI Completes USV-led Marine Survey at Naval Station Newport, Rhode Island

As part of a multi-phase construction project, Ocean Specialists, Inc. (OSI) recently completed the first of a series of bathymetric surveys in support of a Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) construction project at Naval Station Newport Rhode Island.

The survey, which was conducted on behalf of OSI’s customer, Cavanagh Marine Inc. (Cavanagh), was executed using a SeaRobotics SR-Surveyor M1.8 Uncrewed Surface Vehicle, the most compact, fully integrated model in OSI’s growing fleet of USVs.

During Phase 1, OSI field technicians operated the rapidly deployable USV for the team at Cavanagh, gathering single-beam sonar, side-scan sonar, bathymetric, and LiDAR data to compile and submit a survey. This is the first of numerous surveys to be completed as part of the project’s overall scope. For Phase 2 and subsequent Phases, OSI will be training Cavanagh’s team to operate the USV independently.

USVs as a Service

The project is being managed out of OSI’s Rhode Island location at Prime Marina in East Greenwich, and is a prime example of how OSI is now targeting the Government and Defense markets with its “USVs as a Service” offering, which the company officially launched in 2022.

“We are seeing growing demand from our naval defense and security clients for the application of USVs on projects of this nature,” explained OSI President Perry Wright. “The sector’s acceptance of Uncrewed Underwater Vehicles (UUVs) for subsea search and inspection is well documented, but today, as USV technology continues to accelerate at breakneck speed, defense operators are now starting to see the true value in USV deployment for activities that historically were always dependent on crewed-vessel support.”

By providing USVs as a Service model, OSI is partnering with its Department of Defense customers and commercial partners to present a more cost-effective means of integrating this fast-evolving technology into standard operating procedures. Benefits go beyond reducing operational costs—USVs significantly reduce HSSE exposure and the carbon footprint associated with crewed deployments.

Ease of Deployment

OSI’s current fleet includes a range of multi-mission USVs, from 1.8 m to 11.0 m in length. All USV services, from a simple charter to more complete turnkey packages, are offered with full technical support for payload integration, in-field deployment assistance, and operational training.

In addition, the USVs share the same proprietary operating system and user interface, meaning that multiple units, independent of size or payload, can be deployed and controlled simultaneously, leading to further efficiencies in the field.

This system standardization and intuitive interfacing enables operators to execute a wide range of tasks using different USV models given that the software, controls, and training are essentially the same across OSI’s portfolio.