Shom, the French Navy's Hydrographic and Oceanographic service, recently conducted a test campaign of iXblue’s DriX Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) and its launch and recovery system (LARS) on board the Beautemps Beaupré (BHO) hydro-oceanographic vessel.
iXblue’s USV was tested in line with the “Future Hydrographic and Oceanographic Capacity (CHOF)" program, conducted by the French Directorate General of Armament (DGA) with the support of Shom. DriX assessment consisted in evaluating the added value and hydrographic performance of Unmanned Surface Platforms compared to the existing launches and vessels currently in service, as well as in understanding the potential concept of use of such drones.
These tests, carried out under a contract between the French DGA and iXblue, consisted of bathymetric surveys reaching various depths (up to 200 m), with the aim of qualifying the overall performance of the DriX USV. Several Shom reference areas were surveyed, attesting of the bathymetric data quality, even at high speeds (up to 14 knots) and in rough seas. Its autonomy (up to 10 days) enabled a total of over 2,000 km of survey lines to be completed during these trials.
The multiplication of Shom's hydrographic capacities, thanks in particular to the simultaneous use of several USVs, was also successfully tested for the first time.
Two DriX were thus deployed simultaneously within survey areas close to the shore and worked both independently and collaboratively with the BHO Beautemps-Beaupré.
The intrinsic qualities of the DriX USV, such as its positioning and navigation capabilities, were also tested (anti-collision, stability, speed of execution, endurance, ability to navigate and work in high sea states, etc.).
"We are extremely proud to have carried out these DriX tests with the Shom, the DGA and the French Navy as part of the CHOF program, and to have reached new milestones together, in particular the hydrographic work with several USVs," said Guillaume Eudeline USV and boats Business Development Manager at iXblue. "We would like to thank the Shom and the crew of the Beautemps-Beaupré for their unfailing investment and for the positive reception given to our USV during these trials, which were, from our point of view, a real success."