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Kraken Sonar Announces Seavision Full Color, Underwater 3D Laser System

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Kraken Sonar’s subsidiary, Kraken Robotik, will introduce its new SeaVision system at the upcoming Ocean Business conference to be held in Southampton, UK from 04 – 06 April 2017. SeaVision is the world’s first RGB underwater laser imaging system that offers the resolution, range and scan rate to deliver dense full colour 3D point cloud images of subsea infrastructure with millimetre accuracy in real time. The initial system is designed for deployment on underwater robotic platforms such as Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs). A hand-held diver system is planned for release later this year.

SeaVision inspecting a pipeline

In recent years, 3D imaging sensors have increased in popularity in fields such as human-machine interaction, augmented reality, cartography and movies. These sensors provide raw 3D data that’s processed by imaging software to obtain 3D volumetric information. This workflow is known as 3D reconstruction and is a tool that to date has been primarily used in terrestrial and aerospace applications.

However, the ability to generate accurate 3D reconstruction of underwater infrastructure is an important requirement for commercial, military and ocean research applications. While sonar is the technology of choice for covering large areas, 3D laser systems such as Kraken’s SeaVision provide significantly higher resolution and accuracy at inspection ranges of under 10 metres.

“3D laser scanning unlocks the potential of underwater surveys for subsea asset assessment. SeaVision™ enables the existing conditions of underwater assets to be captured as millions of data points, which can then be imported into 3D modeling software for creating realistic, to-scale images of the asset. The data available in 3D models can help improve decisions. During meetings and evaluations, 3D models will benefit both technical and non-technical people because they can easily interpret the model. The level of detail provides more useful information that helps in easy visualization and advanced analysis.” Dr. Jakob Schwendner, Managing Director of Kraken Robotik GmbH.

SeaVision uses a full colour laser scanning process that’s repeated thousands of times per second to generate coordinate values of millions of points on a reflected surface. The coordinates and intensity associated with each reflected laser pulse are processed in real time to generate an ultra high resolution point cloud. SeaVision produces over 300,000 colored points per second and can reconstruct a 3D object in real-time with typical spatial accuracy of less than 2 millimetres. These datasets can be used to create highly detailed models for 3D visualization, asset management, artificial intelligence and predictive analytics.

Unlike other underwater laser scanning systems, SeaVision™ does not have any externally moving parts. It is integrated in a compact twin pod configuration with flexible mounting options and localized auto-calibration. This enables the system to be mounted at-sea without the need for a specialist or technical support.

Using Structure from Motion photogrammetric range imaging and correlation techniques similar to Kraken’s Synthetic Aperture Sonar technology, SeaVision’s highly sensitive colour cameras are used for motion compensation and micro-navigation. Advanced signal processing algorithms correct vehicle motion during laser scanning without the need for an expensive inertial navigation system. The laser scans are co-registered to the camera images to provide both optical data and 3D point clouds for quantitative measurements.

Another unique feature is the application of six laser lines in Red, Green and Blue (RGB) colours to reproduce full colour information. All data is processed on-board in real-time and can be directly streamed and viewed topside or stored on the system’s multi-terabyte solid state drive.SeaVision can also be used in profiling mode, where the lasers automatically maintain optimal scan angles and acquire colour 3D data as the ROV or AUV platform moves along the target.

“SeaVision™ is a very innovative and cool product. Our scientists and engineers have done a great job on its development. The combination of SeaVision™ with our sonar and underwater robotics technology will become a valuable tool for subsea asset management. We expect it will enable autonomous, real-time, millimetre resolution 3D modeling, change detection and predictive structural integrity assessment. It has an industry changing price and performance value proposition that will deliver improved safety, higher operating efficiencies and reduced costs for commercial, military and ocean science applications.” Karl Kenny, Kraken’s President and CEO.

Industry analysts Markets and Markets forecast that the 3D scanner market is expected to grow from US$3.4 Billion in 2015 to almost US$6 Billion by 2022. The demand for 3D scanners is expected to increase owing to the growing need to capture large volumes of three-dimensional data for modelling and analysis. The laser 3D scanner is expected to hold the largest share of the 3D scanner market between 2016 and 2022 owing to its ease of usage and availability.

Pricing and Availability
SeaVision™ will be showcased at Ocean Business 2017 with additional technical details and specifications released during the conference. Commercial units will be available for delivery in 3Q 2017. End user pricing for the twin pod configuration will be US$75,000.

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