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Ultrabeam Secures Marine-i Grant

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One of our revolutionary survey vessels has secured a grant from Marine-i, a pioneering programme designed to help the marine technology sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly grow through research, development and innovation.

A unique new type of unmanned surface vessel, the Ultra-USV is a 3 metre catamaran that's been specifically designed to gather accurate and highly detailed survey data in challenging inshore environments. The craft is able to carry a full suite of survey tools including multibeam sonar, laser scanner, high resolution cameras, imaging sonar and sub-bottom profilers to provide a fully integrated holistic survey methodology. It is believed to be the only unmanned survey vessel of its kind.

“This type of dynamic positioning offers us a huge advantage in marine surveying," says Gabriel Walton, Technical Director for Ultrabeam. "For example, the Ultra-USV can hold its position accurately even in river currents and can also achieve much closer inspection of features than would be possible with any conventional craft. This technology will be a real game-changer for the industry; it will allow us do things that were previously thought impossible or too risky in inshore surveying.”

Leo McLeman, part of the Marine-i team, and Marine Challenge Fund Lead at Cornwall Development Company, noted the "outstanding potential" of the new survey vessel. "This is another example of the pioneering 21st-century technologies that are coming out of Cornwall. The grant funding support that we are providing will enable Ultrabeam to proceed with a fully engineered vessel for extensive sea trials, with enhanced thruster technology and an improved navigation system," he says. “The Marine-i team was very impressed with the innovative thinking that has gone into the development of the Ultra-USV concept and the outstanding commercial potential that this new technology offers."