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Nexus 2: The tried and tested USBL for accurate subsea navigation

9th November, 2021 | 4 minute read
By Paul Griffiths, Business Development Manager (Acoustic Positioning)

Paul joined aae technologies in June 2021 as Business Development Manager for Acoustic Positioning, following 22 years in various roles specialising in subsea positioning. Paul is very focused on looking after our customers and creating relationships to enable trust.

Nexus 2 is the second release of our popular digital USBL system. Originally released in 2016, it enabled a higher level of accuracy and repeatability, incorporating our Sigma 2 spread spectrum channels which added additional functionality as well as a higher level of accuracy and repeatability. 

Customers enjoy working with our Nexus 2 system for a variety of reasons, but primarily its ease of use and the results achieved when using the system.

Do you need to accurately position your ROV/AUV subsea?

How about your towed magnetometer for UXO surveys?

applied acoustics have been manufacturing survey-grade USBL systems since 2010 and the Nexus 2 system is a high-grade solution for positioning and navigation subsea. We’ve achieved great success within a number of key sectors, from Oil and Gas to Renewables, Defence, Ocean Science, Aquaculture, Port and Harbour Surveys, and UXO Surveys and Clearance.

Helping subsea service specialists deliver a better experience for their clients

Ocean Scan knew aae were experts in technology associated with underwater positioning systems in conjunction with ROV equipment and approached us for technological help. Positioning accuracy is essential for the company’s work in identifying shipwrecks, debris, pipelines and underwater hazards. 

aae assisted with the successful integration of several USBL systems into Ocean Scan’s Falcon DR-1000 ROVs, which are now performing high-depth marine infrastructure inspection work for a range of industries. These USBL systems have significantly improved Ocean Scan’s subsea operations, making it possible for them to deliver a better experience for their clients and achieve a higher level of satisfaction with all their undersea inspection work.

Ocean Scan

The evolution of the Nexus 2 USBL

applied acoustics have been manufacturing USBL systems for over 25 years, starting with the original analogue Easytrak USBL system, and now using spread spectrum digital signal architecture for the last 11+ years. 

The Nexus USBL system was released in 2010 to allow higher levels of accuracy, with Nexus 2 following six years later, taking advantage of further technical advances. Our Sigma 2 spread spectrum digital acoustics lifted Nexus 2 to survey-grade navigation and positioning.

Nexus 2 highlights

  • An established, highly advanced USBL system, with over 150 Nexus systems sold worldwide to a variety of customers.
  • Standard bi-directional Sigma 2 spread spectrum offering quality acoustics with added functionality, superb accuracy and repeatability in shallow or deep waters.
  • Fast Acoustic Data Uplink- an 800bps (including forward error correction) protocol allowing quick, secure and reliable data transfer between subsea instruments and surface command.
  • ‘Multi-Fire’ Common Interrogate Function; the capacity to interrogate multiple subsea transponders with a single ping, giving faster update rates than conventional sequential firing, utilising our proven and proprietary Sigma 2 acoustic protocols.
  • EasyCal 2 embedded calibration software provided as standard, saving valuable set-up time, ensuring operations can begin quickly and efficiently.
  • Windows based software for ease of use.
  • Industry standard VRU, DGPS, Heading, Depth Input and DP Telegrams, providing our customers with confidence that Nexus 2 has everything you need.
  • Transceiver options available, capable of tracking fast moving targets at long slant ranges. Reliable, repeatable and accurate results have been achieved with towed targets moving at 10 knots. Particularly effective for UXO surveys utilising several magnetometers or sidescan sonars, diving operations, and for use at offshore worksites where several vehicles may be in use concurrently. The long range capability and exceptional accuracy specifications make Nexus 2 particularly effective for long layback towed application. 

Customer satisfaction

“The experience of working with aae has been very good. USBL equipment has a technological development that allows for easy handling and a fast-learning curve for its operation. Technical support has always been there when solving a problem. In general, our experience with aae has been very satisfying.”

Alex Lobos Astudillo, Head of Hydrography and Oceanography at Ocean Scan

Get the right USBL for your project

If you feel that the Nexus 2 system is maybe more than you need to achieve required results or you haven’t quite got the budget, just drop us a call or an email. We will be happy to talk through your specific requirements and suggest the right system from our USBL product family to suit your project down to the ground. Or the seafloor! 

Do you need highly advanced positioning and tracking with all the bells and whistles that is quick and easy to deploy, straightforward to operate and works in any subsea industry sector? Don’t hesitate to contact us or browse the Nexus 2 specs here. A quick conversation with our sales team will confirm if the Nexus 2 is the right USBL for you.

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