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Cetos Dronekit for ECA USVs on Dutch-Belgian MCMVs

Robopec SENSE Module Merges Visual and Navigation Data

Cetos Dronekit’s SENSE module, developed by Robopec, iXblue’s robotics division, has been selected by ECA Group to provide complete scene analysis for collision avoidance for their USVs.. Out of Cetos’ three modules, the SENSE module serves the critical role of merging visual and navigation data acquired by the USV’s various sensors, and of elaborating a safe and feasible route through the operational area.

ECA will integrate SENSE on USVs for the Belgian-Dutch MCM programme, conducted by Belgium Naval & Robotics, a joint venture between Naval Group and ECA. This innovative programme, among the largest of its kind, aims to provide new-generation mine-hunting vessels, which will rely heavily on USVs to detect, identify and neutralise mines while keeping both crew and ships safe.

Cetos Dronekit’s SENSE module will integrate perfectly with already selected iXblue systems, within the MCM programme […] This program is a major reference for Robopec solutions and a testimony of our know-how,” commented Eric Franchi, Sales Director at Robopec. “A sea-proven and mature solution, Cetos’ SENSE module also innovates by addressing [rather more] collision avoidance regulations (COLREGs) than required. This innovation makes it not only great at [perceiving] and avoiding obstacles, but also at [integrating into] naval traffic, as well as abiding [by] maritime regulations.”

iXblue has already gained the trust of Belgium Naval & Robotics in the recent past. The French company will indeed provide critical systems for the programme’s new, state-of-the-art vessels. They will benefit from the renowned FOG technology with the integration of iXblue’s inertial navigation systems (INS). These will ensure reliable and high-performance navigation at all times, including in GNSS-denied environments. In addition, iXblue will provide SeapiX-FLS7 sonars, allowing for real-time mine and obstacle analysis and detection with very high precision. Cetos Dronekit works perfectly in tandem with the SeapiX-FLS series. Finally, Gaps USBLs will be used for tracking and communicating with ECA Group’s AUVs.

A schematic illustrating a typical Cetos Dronekit installation. (Image: iXblue)

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