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ECA has announced that the A18D Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) has been evaluated by the French Directorate General of Armaments, the French Navy and the Naval Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service (Shom) as part of the Future Hydrographic and Oceanographic Capacity (CHOF) programme. The aim of this is to update and develop France’s current capacity for oceanographic and hydrographic data acquisition and processing.

Embarked on the French Navy’s Offshore Support & Assistance Vessel RHÔNE, the A18D AUV performed a large variety of missions to precisely map the relief and sea beds down to 3000m depth, in the currents and swell of the Atlantic. The example of the A18D tested showed a high level of reliability and proved to be easy to install and operate, thanks to its optimised size-to-weight ratio (5.7m-780kg) and its intuitive user interface, the company writes. These trials have allowed the A18D’s maturity to be measured. Moreover, the feedback allowed the teams to evaluate the potential of using a drone to accompany and enrich hydro-oceanography missions. The quality of the very high resolution images acquired by the A18D was recognised.


The R7 is the latest addition to ECA’s family of Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs), combining the compactness and ease of deployment of mini-ROVs with the performance, speed and payload carrying capacity of professional observation-class ROVs, according to the company. It is designed for oceanographers, hydrographers, fish farmers and operators of submerged structures for underwater missions up to a depth of 300 m, including inspection, observation, surveillance, maintenance and object recovery. ECA state that the R7 incorporates the latest developments in digital technology for some of the highest quality images on the market, thanks to a full HD video chain going from the camera sensors to the display screens.

To facilitate navigation even in difficult visibility conditions, the R7’s navigation camera is equipped with a very high sensitivity wide-angle video sensor. This camera is combined with high performance LED lighting to provide a high quality level of rendering. The FHD observation camera with 4x optical zoom and vertical rotation movement is to ensure optimum comfort during inspection. The plug-and-play connection of payloads is facilitated by the 100 per cent digital architecture, giving the R7 its scalable character.