David Evans uses autonomous tech in Galveston Bay survey work for NOAA

Photo: Sea Machines Robotics

DEA Marine Services, a division of Washington-based David Evans and Associates (DEA), is performing a survey of Western Galveston Bay in Texas using an autonomous navigation system developed by Sea Machines Robotics of Boston.

The Sea Machines autonomous system has been installed on the DEA survey daughter craft Sigsbee, which is being used to survey more than 3,500 square nautical miles of the bay near the Houston Ship Channel in fulfillment of a contract with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The goal is to cover the bay’s large and shallow survey areas more efficiently than with traditional, crewed survey vessel operations.

Sigsbee is operating without an onboard crew while collaboratively following another DEA-staffed hydrographic survey vessel, which serves as the mothership.

DEA operators on board the mothership are commanding the autonomous Sigsbee as it conducts survey missions seven days per week, which Sea Machines claims is effectively doubling the conventional productivity of this type of survey.

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