Exail’s DriX USV equipped with SeapiX-R multibeam echosounder conducts first-of-its-kind survey in U.S windfarm areas for NOAA fisheries

Exail’s DriX Uncrewed Surface Vessel (USV) recently completed a first-of-its-kind fisheries research survey to assess the impact on biomass and fish stock before, during and after wind farm construction.

Equipped with a SeapiX-R 3D high resolution multibeam echosounder from Exail, two Kongsberg EK80 single beam echosounders and a Nortek ADCP, the DriX USV performed this survey off the coast of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York for NOAA Fisheries Northeast Fisheries Research Science Center (NEFSC), in close collaboration with NOAA USxOC, as well as Kongsberg and Nortek.

Operating 24/7 in supervised autonomous mode, the DriX USV covered over 5,000km of navigation lines, safely operating within 20 meters from the windfarm monopiles, detecting and avoiding ships, fishing nets and buoys. During the mission, the USV transmitted its data in real-time to a Remote Operation Center (ROC) set up at the University of Rhode Island’s Inner Space Center in Narragansett, RI, as well as to Exail’s Maritime Autonomy hub in La Ciotat, France.

Seapix-R - DriX USV - Windfarm

“We would like to thank NOAA Fisheries Northeast Fisheries Research Science Center for the trust they have placed in Exail’s USV and sensors. We are proud to have contributed to providing our customers with highly accurate scientific data, ranging from biomass detection in the water column to the finesse of sand displacement bathymetry.” said Shayan Haque, Business Development Manager at Exail.

Exail closely coordinated their efforts with the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Southeast New England, the windfarm developers, and local mariners to ensure safe autonomous operation in busy navigation channels and challenging windfarm construction areas.

Thanks to its very efficient design, the DriX performed its mission flawlessly with a very small environmental footprint. With a 90% reduction in CO2 emissions, compared to a conventional survey vessel, DriX helped contribute towards an environmentally friendly operation.