Kraken Robotics Inc., Canada’s Ocean Company™, has successfully completed a $0.5 million Robotics as a Service (RaaS) contract with the Royal Canadian Navy to test the company’s ultra-high resolution underwater survey equipment. The contract was funded under the government of Canada’s Innovative Solutions in Canada program, and the testing was conducted by the Royal Canadian Navy’s Fleet Diving Unit Atlantic (FDU-A) based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The RCN maintains a sophisticated sonar imaging and data storage capability, as well as a mandate to deploy this capability to national and international areas of interest.

This contract has allowed RCN FDU-A the ability to access cutting-edge technologies and high-resolution maps of the ocean floor. With Kraken utilizing its KATFISH towed sonar system and integrating a Kraken Light Weight SAS (LW) onboard an RCN-owned Huntington Ingalls REMUS 100 Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV), Kraken’s RaaS service demonstrated that FDU-A’s existing capabilities can be augmented by using service-based offerings of cutting-edge technology. This also comes with significantly better data at a much lower cost, leveraging continuously improving capabilities.

Car Wrecks Surveyed with Legacy Side-Scan (top) vs Kraken’s LW-SAS (bottom)

“Our members are fully trained in Naval Mine Countermeasures and seabed searches, and are always excited to be able to test and evaluate innovative Canadian technology. We want our teams to have their hands on the best equipment available in order to safely and effectively complete the mission. Based on the performance of Kraken’s equipment during this evaluation, what we tested was the best equipment available,” said Lieutenant Commander Neville Lockyer, Commanding Officer of Fleet Diving Unit (Atlantic).

Kraken’s LW-SAS Installed onto an RCN UUV

Throughout the duration of the contract, Kraken’s team was able to determine the range, area coverage rates, and resolution of Kraken’s KATFISH and LW-SAS systems successfully met or exceeded target specifications. The Kraken and FDU-A teams worked closely on integration of the payload, training FDU-A to use Kraken’s cloud-based post-mission analysis tools and conducting change detection. The two teams also demonstrated that the LW-SAS could be installed and removed from vehicles in the field.

Karl Kenny, Kraken President and CEO, shared his thoughts regarding the successful outcome of the contract:

“Kraken is excited to be once again working closely with our own RCN as an ‘Early Adopter’ to augment existing RCN Route Survey capabilities with a service offering based on the latest SAS technology available. The experience of working side by side with our FDU operators provided invaluable feedback to our engineers and technicians, and the RCN’s evaluation will serve as an excellent reference for a global offering, in particular to other NATO allies. Furthermore, the RCN’s objective comparison of the data from our RaaS offering against legacy sonar data provided demonstrative evidence of the superior image resolution and accuracy of Kraken survey data.”

An Object of Interest Located During the Testing Phase

In regards to RaaS’ benefits to navies around the world, Kraken believes that it can offer navies cutting-edge technology when they need it, not needing to worry about equipment obsolescence, life cycle costs, or operator skill fade.

The Kraken RaaS has many advantages in relation to the RCN, such as:

  • MARLANT (Maritime Forces Atlantic) and MARPAC (Maritime Forces Pacific), as RCN operating bases, are mandated to maintain Q-routes (safe passage lanes along the coasts and into designated harbors, of Canadian waters) annually. Due to the significant amount of time taken with current RCN technology due to image quality and speed of current towed bodies, Kraken’s technology would allow for clearer image quality and significantly reduce survey time.
  • Kraken’s technology can be deployed to assist the RCN in mapping important areas before regular operations. The high quality of Kraken’s sonar images can be used to identify and examine any area’s changes, increasing the efficiency with which the RCN examines these areas. This has the potential to provide the RCN with an edge over other navies for examining and discovering objects that may be buried or hidden in seafloors.
  • Kraken’s technology and services can also support near shore hydrographic mapping and charting requirements annually, freeing up valuable Navy assets for other mission critical functions.
Kraken’s KATFISH Collected Data from 10m – 160m at >6 kn

“By embracing the ISC TS program, the RCN is able to test and trial high-tech, advanced, state of the art equipment to determine its viability and future employability in various areas of warfare. Partnering with Kraken Robotics to utilize Robotics as a Service allowed the RCN’s Seabed Intervention Systems department, as the end users, to employ a superior SAS system on an already in-service UUV, the REMUS 100, to achieve a much higher definition resolution image. The trial and the partnership were very successful in integrating the SAS with the REMUS 100, and in demonstrating that increased resolution tremendously improved object identification and change detection,” concluded Commander Roland Leyte, Director of Diving Safety (D DIV S).