Subsea Meets Space the first ever North American demonstration of Sabertooth Double Hull

Between 12-17 November, Underwater Systems was on location at NASA for a technology symposium in Houston, Texas. The symposium comprised both seminars and product demonstrations of the underwater vehicle - Seaeye Sabertooth.

The product demos took place in NASA´s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL), in Houston. NBL is one of the world's largest indoor test tanks and measures 60 x 30 x 12 metres with the capacity to hold approx. 23.5 million litres of water. Dynamics business unit Underwater Systems was on-site to participate in the symposium arranged by the American company OneSubsea, which focused on the future of offshore oil and gas extraction. Around fifty companies took part in the symposium which saw demonstrations from companies such as Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, Technip, Woods Hole Oceanographic Inst., US Navy, ConocoPhillips, Schlumberger and Cameron, to name just a few.

"There was a great deal of interest and we were forced to limit the number of participants from companies wanting to attend," says Bert Johansson, Sales Director, Unmanned Underwater Systems.

Well-attended seminars were held over the days on a range of topics such as AUV Technology, Ocean Research and Space Exploration. Underwater Systems served as the sole organiser for two of the days, during which the focus was on demonstrating Seaeye Sabertooth.  A workshop arranged by Saab was also held on one of the days with British Petroleum (BP), who were afforded the opportunity to pose questions to the team from Underwater Systems.

"The days provided us with many good opportunities to meet customers and to gain more insight into the specific requirements they have," says Agneta Kammeby, Head of Business Unit Underwater Systems. "It is very rare for us to be able to meet with between 120 and 130 customers from 50 companies from the USA, Europe and South America one-on-one in this way and in this type of environment."

Demonstration of Seaeye Sabertooth

Showcased during the demonstration were Sabertooth's autonomous capabilities, the vehicles capacity to be manually controlled via an underwater optical communications link and its ability to, without physical contact, transmit data and video through the water. Something that has never been demonstrated before. The participants got the chance to see and learn more about Sabertooth and a presentation of the system was given by Bert Johansson, who guided the visitors through Sabertooth's exhibition programme. They were also provided an opportunity to ask questions during the demonstration. The demonstrations were conducted in collaboration with Sonardyne, who provided the optical link. In addition to Sabertooth's underwater demonstration in the tank, it was also exhibited on the ground for a close-up inspection.

"We demonstrated Sabertooth and its capabilities in NASA's test tank where a full-scale version of the International Space Station, ISS, loomed in the background and where, at the same time, astronauts trained for their missions. It was a resounding success and the environment is fantastic. The fact that we, for the first time, were able to demonstrate Sabertooth’s ability to transmit autonomously collected data from the onboard computer directly to the surface via the optical link was something that also greatly impressed the visitors," says Bert Johansson.

In conjunction with the seminar, Underwater Systems had an exhibit with models of Sabertooth, Falcon and Cougar on display.

"It has been some very interesting days and it is obvious that Sabertooth stands up well to the competition. No one could be anything but impressed with what it could do in the water," says Sven-Inge Svensson, Head of Saab Seaeye SE.

Business Unit Underwater Systems include the development and production of civil and military unmanned underwater vehicles and underwater weapons. The product portfolio includes products such as remotely operated vehicles (ROV), autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV) and hybrids as well as torpedoes and underwater sensors.