Search For MH370 To Restart Using Robot Swarm

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Search For MH370 To Restart Using Robot Swarm

Postby toucana on January 22nd, 2018, 3:25 pm 

Seabed_constructor.jpeg
Swire - Seabed Constructor

The four year search for the missing Malaysian airliner MH370 is about recommence, this time using a swarm of autonomous underwater robots.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/big-gamble-to-find-mh370-begins-us-team-deploys-robot-swarm-to-find-jet?ref=home

Texas based company Ocean Infinity have signed a “no find no fee” contract with the Malaysian government. The reward for a successful search could vary between $20 million and $70 million according to how much is discovered.

They have leased the Norwegian survey vessel Seabed Constructor for a 90 day search mission and will deploy a swarm of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV), Hugin 6000 robots, purchased from another Norwegian company Kongsberg Marine.

The new search will take place immediately north of the original search area that came up empty after 27 months. Flight MH370 disappeared in March 2014, with 239 people aboard.

The robots have capabilities not available to the AUVs used in the first search. As well as highly advanced sonar side-scanning they have precise self-navigating equipment enabling them to hug closely to the contours of what is an extremely challenging underwater geology containing deep valleys, mountains and mud-spewing volcanoes.

For most of the time the robots steer by dead reckoning and by using onboard cameras. Each one has a battery pack that gives them a total operating time of 60 hours.

By using eight robots simultaneously, more than 460 square miles of seabed can covered every day, far more than before. The initial area given priority by the Malaysians is around 2,000 square miles. This area contains three “hot spots” identified by a team of Australian oceanographers last year as the most likely resting place of the Boeing 777.

If this search is unsuccessful two other areas immediately north and extending close to a latitude of 32 degrees south will then be searched, if conditions permit.

If MH370’s flight data recorder is recovered it will be sent to Australia where the Australian Transport Safety Bureau operates a laboratory equipped to retrieve the data.
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