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Ocean Technology Test Bed

Project Overview

This project is part of an ongoing initiative at the University of Victoria to advance marine technology. The ocean technology test bed (OTTB) will be an engineering laboratory, located on the sea floor. It will enable scientific instrument prototyping, ocean technology development and systems engineering. More specifically, it will facilitate research into the technologies required to extend the reach of cabled ocean observatories using underwater vehicles, autonomous instrumentation, and acoustic networks.

MANO: BF-12

Saab SeaEye Falcon

OTTB

MACO- Hybrid AUV

HD Camera

Underwater GPS

The facility will reside in approximatly 80m of water and have an operating area that is 2.5 km2 spanning the entire water column. It will be a 3D arena or wet lab in which engineering research can occur. Inside of the arena, the OTTB will provide power and communication to static instruments and precision tracking for research on dynamic systems, such as underwater vehicles.

Research Objectives

The OTTB will focus on providing research and development services to two primary sectors:
Underwater engineering research – including the development of innovative ocean technologies, such as: underwater vehicles; high definition imaging systems; integrated acoustic system for underwater navigation and communication.
Interdisciplinary Marine science – provide a facility for marine scientists to design and test unique instrumentation, particularly for application on cabled ocean observatories.

The OTTB project will utilize current VENUS science projects as a guide in the development; these include experiments in the areas of studies of sponge reefs, active seismic regions, a delta dynamics laboratory and acoustics for cetacean monitoring.

OTTB Infrastructure

The figure above shows an overview of the OTTB alongside the VENUS observatory node in Saanich Inlet. The VENUS Saanich Inlet node is an established cabled observatory site. This node will provide the OTTB with power and fiber optic communication through a wet-mate electro-optic connector; this is a hybrid connector that has both copper and fibre-optic lines.

The project infrastructure will consist of the following components:
A Surface Support System including a permanently moored service buoy and a Remotely Operated underwater Vehicle (ROV) that can provide subsea support anywhere inside of Saanich Inlet.
A Recoverable Platform providing power and communications to static sensor packages.
An Integrated Acoustic System (IAS) which will provide positioning and communication anywhere inside of the 3-D arena.

With these components, the OTTB will be a commercially available test facility that can provide support for a wide range of groups wishing to test their own products.

Engineering Objectives

Mission Statement

To design and implementation a sea floor ocean technology laboratory that is a state-of-the-art research facility and a “go to” site for any group wishing to do research, development, and testing activities.

How do we facilitate testing...

The OTL is striving to design the OTTB to make it easy and cost effective to test equipment in an ocean environment.

When an instrument is deployed on the OTTB, the recoverable platform is retreived using the service buoy, and all the installation work is performed while the platform is sitting on the surface. This allows for less expensive dry-mate connectors to be used on the prototype systems and removes the reliance on ROVs for the subsea installation work. This makes a deployment less expensive and also alleviates the burden of trying to schedule ROV and ship time, which must be booked months in advance.

In addition to the ease of scheduling, the OTTB also provides a controlled location where long term testing can occur. The monitoring capacity of the OTTB is especially suited for testing that involves long term exposure to the ocean environment.

What makes this facility unique...

Field testing is an important step in the evolution of any undersea product or research proposal. The OTTB provides a controlled, accessible location where academic researchers and commercial companies can to do this type of testing. Currently, there is no other civilian facility that can support the range of test scenarios that are possible with the OTTB.

Sponsors

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