Whether it is for ISR applications, Mine Countermeasures, seabed warfare or deep-sea exploration, AUVs are becoming highly critical assets for navies worldwide. With an increasing operational range and mission duration, operators of all type of AUVs have a critical need for high-performance and reliable navigation capabilities. This is where Exail’s (formerly iXblue) Inertial Navigations Systems come into play.
“In many regards, AUVs are some of the most, if not the most advanced autonomous platforms in the world. This is why the navigation solution is such an essential component. Because navigation brings such a critical capability, we understand the importance of our position in the market. Exail is not just a supplier of inertial navigation systems. We believe that we can actually bring more robust autonomy to subsea autonomous platforms including growing importance in providing the positioning solution with our Gaps acoustic positioning system.”
Jean-Marc Binois, Commercial Director at Exail
Phins Compact Series: the world-leading solutions for AUVs navigation
Exail has a reputation of excellence when it comes to naval and maritime products. The company is recognized worldwide throughout the industry for its pioneering work on the development of Fiber-Optic Gyroscope (FOG) technology that has revolutionized Inertial Navigation Systems (INS).
Over the years, Exail has developed long-lasting partnerships with various key industry players including private companies, research institutes, and governments, to fully understand and anticipate the needs of the AUV market to remain at the forefront of technological advancements. By truly understanding all specific aspects of the AUV market and its challenges, Exail was able to develop INS specifically designed to offer a scalable and highly accurate, and reliable navigation solution that enhances AUVs autonomy: the Phins Compact Series.
Genuine strap-down solid-state systems, Exail’s INS are free of moving parts and offer quiet and stealth autonomous navigation and does not interfere with sonars and other payloads acoustic noise. They also provide increased autonomy to subsea platforms thanks to their very low-power consumption.
Equipping over 80% of subsea platforms worldwide, the Phins Compact Series has been chosen by major AUVs manufacturers and integrators to provide reliable autonomous subsea navigation. Comprising the Phins C3, C5 and C7, the Series offers a fully scalable solution that allows AUVs industry players to choose the Inertial Navigation System the most suited to their needs, whatever the platform’s size and mission type. Available in OEM versions, the Phins C3, C5 and C7 share identical architectures and interfaces and incorporate the same algorithms and software, enabling customers to re-use the control system on any other type of AUV via modern interfaces such as Ethernet, reducing initial integration costs. Benefiting from an MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) of over 100,000 hours, without any need for preventive maintenance, the Phins Compact Series guarantees the highest level of reliability and robustness and is now considered as the standard navigation solution on which AUVs can rely to be fully autonomous.
“Exail’s success in the AUVs market relies on many factors. One is, of course, our unrivaled FOG technology. But another of our strong suits is our advanced algorithms. Everything is about data nowadays, and data is key to highly reliable navigation. We can think of an AUV as being a mix of a lot of very good sensors, including DVL, GPS, USBL, and LBL to only name a few. The challenging part to make the platform fully autonomous, is to merge all those data to provide a reliable navigation capability,” states Jean-Marc Binois. “Thanks to our advanced algorithms and Unscented Kalman Filter, our inertial navigation systems have now become the prime sensor fusion engine, from navigation, position, and timing standpoint. Therefore, we are able to bring more robust autonomy to those unmanned platforms. Overall, we have the best technology available for the navigation of AUVs today and this translates into the sheer number of Exail systems that are now roaming the oceans in full autonomy.”