Boeing Deepwater Launches Echo Ranger AUV

Boeing reports that the Echo Ranger, an unmanned autonomous underwater vehicle, or AUV, that performs deepwater surveying in depths up to 3,000 meters (10,000 feet), for gas, oil and telecommunications companies, has entered service in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Echo Ranger was jointly developed by Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, Fugro N.V., and Oceaneering International, Inc. under an alliance to provide deepwater AUV survey services around the world.

The Echo Ranger is a more cost effective alternative for companies seeking to collect deepwater "swath" bathymetry, survey natural and man-made seafloor features, and profile sub-bottom marine sediments. In contrast to a traditional towed survey system that requires the use of a long umbilical cable to transmit information back to a tow-vessel, Echo Ranger internally stores data from the various survey sensors for download upon recovery.

For real-time data observation and quality control, the Echo Ranger can transmit survey data back to the mother ship through the water column by use of an on-board acoustic modem. A similar modem arrangement is used to send operating instructions to the vehicle and to receive critical feedback on system performance.

The Echo Ranger builds upon research and development performed by Boeing in support of its Long-Term Mine Reconnaissance System (LMRS), a five-year, $100 million contract from the U.S. Navy that calls for an unmanned autonomous vehicle to enable the Navy to clear mines from shipping routes in depths up to 1,500 feet.

Fugro, a world leader in offshore survey services, developed the survey sensor payload, seafloor positioning, and data analysis systems. Oceaneering, one of the leading manufacturers and operators of remotely operated underwater vehicles, developed the launch and recovery and shipboard services systems. Both Fugro and Oceaneering have worldwide bases of operation from which the AUV can be supported.

Echo Ranger