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Combining Sonar Systems with an ROV for Search and Rescue

Kiara Vallier   |   January 11, 2016

Early last October we held a demo day in Bronte Harbour in Oakville to showcase how ROVs can be used in conjunction with sonar systems for effective search and rescue missions. Our German Resellers from Echolotzentrum Schlageter ventured to Canada to showcase the Hummingbird Sonar system while we demonstrated how the ROVs are used.

Echolotzentrum showcased the Hummingbird sonar system to demonstrate the clarity of the photos taken that can be used to identify objects sitting on the ocean floor or lake bed. In search and rescue operations, they use the sonar first to locate the areas where objects are laying on the ocean floor. From there they are able to obtain a better understanding of where the missing person may be located and continue the operation by sending down the Deep Trekker ROV to identify the object at the bottom. If the object is in fact the missing person then they will continue by either using the Deep Trekker’s Grabber Arm on the DTG2 Worker to retrieve the body or send down a diver.

“I think the sonar system in combination with the Deep Trekker is the most efficient way of locating and finding and recovering things from the bottom. Until today, we never had the opportunity to bring up the located item [to] the surface. With the Deep Trekker, now we have the possibility to see, to verify what’s on the ground- if you think, on a sonar you get a picture and you have an imagination of what it could be and now with the Deep Trekker you can verify it, directly, in the moment and in the case that it is the thing you are looking for you can recover it.” –Oliver Beerhenke from Echolotzentrum Schlageter.

While we showcased our ROVs with the Hummingbird sonar system during our demo day, the potential for ROVs being used with sonar systems in general for search and rescue operations is clear. By using the sonar you are able to locate discrepancies on the ocean floor that may be the objects or people you are looking for. This is advantageous when searching large areas that would take too long to cover with only the use of an ROV. Then from there, having the ability to send down an ROV like the Deep Trekker is the perfect way to verify the object and retrieve it.

Check out this video to see how the Demo Day unfolded:

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