Autonomous navigation

We have 30 years’ of experience in dynamic positioning systems: designing, implementing and commissioning. From shuttle tankers, drill ships and FPSOs to two-man crew dive vessels. Inventors of many innovative features of DP systems particularly for improving fuel efficiency.

After leading developments in autonomous navigation and intelligent shipping, we have now developed our own autonomous navigation system software. The first use will be on a mini litter-picking robot boat. Watch this space for details in the near future.

SANSNAV autonomous navigation software

Sansanc are pleased to announce the first release of the SansNav autonomous navigation control software. The software is designed for small, unmanned surface vessels (USV) that may be used for surveying, inspection, hydrography or many other purposes. 

The software can optionally be embedded into an existing autopilot or vessel control system to provide track-following and collision avoidance functionality. Alternatively, it can be supplied as a standalone system, hosted on a single-board microcontroller, with interfaces to measurement and propulsion systems.

Control of the vessel can be performed by an operator using a shore-based graphical user interface, or passed to the onboard controller. Different levels of autonomous control can be selected. The lowest level of control is “Manual”, in which the operator drives the ship by specifying the thrusts to apply. “AutoHead” performs litke an autopilot, it allows the operator to specify the vessel heading and the forward thrust. “AutoPos” is a hover mode where the vessel stays at a fixed position specified by the operator. 

“Tracking” mode allows the vessel the highest level of autonomy. The operator specifies a track in terms of waypoints and speeds and the controller drives the vessel along the track. This mode allows the control system to perform collision avoidance when provided information about nearby objects or other vessels. Collision avoidance actions take account of the COLREGS “rules of the road”, as well as information on fixed obstacles provided by a navigation chart.

For vessels using batteries as the power source, monitoring and modelling of battery state-of-charge is included.

Summary of features

  • Control modes:
    • Track-following with collision avoidance.
    • Auto-position (hover).
    • Auto-heading (autopilot).
    • Manual.
  • Collision avoidance based on COLREGS rules.
  • Chart integration.
  • Fully configurable for vessel size, thrusters, electrical system.
  • Battery monitoring.
  • Suitable for embedding into a host controller, or self-contained on a single-board microcontroller.
  • Monitoring and control from shore-based interface.