Bluefin Robotics, a leading provider of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) and related subsea technologies, announced that Tesla Offshore LLC has purchased a Bluefin-21 AUV.
Randall P. Bergeron, President and CEO of Tesla Offshore stated that, “In the highly competitive and evolving field of AUV development, Bluefin Robotics certainly belongs at the top of a very short list of suppliers that could meet our subsea data acquisition and sensor integration criteria. With such a strong background in innovative solutions in the AUV market, and the flexibility to meet our operational goals and timeframes, Bluefin Robotics was able to put together an ideal vehicle that will allow Tesla Offshore to undertake our clients’ most challenging deepwater survey operations anywhere in the world.”
This purchase coincides with Tesla’s intent to expand its presence in deepwater oil and gas field development, as well as positioning itself to pursue governmental, environmental and academic applications support. Tesla Offshore will operate their AUV on a global basis and, specifically, in the Gulf of Mexico where US government regulatory agents are considering proposals that mandate archeological and shallow hazard survey data be acquired by AUV technologies. Assigned to spearhead the implementation of the technology are Tesla’s Nathaniel Usher, Director of Geoscience and George Loy, Innovative Solutions Manager.
The Tesla Bluefin-21 AUV is a modular system capable of carrying multiple sensors in a single payload section. It boasts a highly efficient power solution that enables extended operations at depths up to 4,500 meters. The innovative design includes swappable payload sections and battery modules for fast surface turnaround, as well as portability and flexibility to operate from various ships of opportunity worldwide.
The AUV’s unique sensor suite has been chosen to exceed the data quality and resolution requirements of today’s deepwater survey markets. These include a broadband multibeam echosounder, a chirp sub-bottom profiler, and a very high definition digital camera. In addition, the system will be the first AUV in the industry to boast a state-of-the-art fully-integrated synthetic aperture sonar (SAS) produced by Raytheon Applied Signal Technology. The PROSAS® Surveyor is expected to provide a decimetric imaging resolution across swath ranges up to 450 meters per side, which in turn can lead to increased survey efficiency at depth.