Kraken Robotics press release
This $0.5 million contract is funded under the Canadian government’s Innovative Solutions Canada program, and the testing department for this service offering is the RCN’s Fleet Diving Unit Atlantic (FDU-A) based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The RCN has a mandate to develop and maintain an advanced sonar imaging and data storage capability for all three coasts, and to deploy this capability to national and international areas of interest. Under the contract, Kraken will deploy its KATFISH™ towed SAS sonar system and will integrate a Kraken Light Weight SAS (LW-SAS) onboard a REMUS 100 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) owned by FDU-A. This contract will be completed by March 31, 2022.
Augmenting the RCN’s Current Capabilities
This contract will provide the RCN FDU-A access to cutting edge technology and high-resolution seabed data. FDU-A uses a number of different seabed imaging sonar solutions for their various mission requirements, including Towed Sonars Systems (typically deployed from a Kingston-class MCDV vessel, with a crew of 40 persons), and Light Weight Sonar Systems (typically deployed from REMUS-class AUVs). Kraken’s RaaS service can augment FDU-A’s existing capabilities, by providing them with significantly better data, at a much lower cost, and leveraging continuously improving capabilities.
The contract involves testing the Kraken RaaS capability in two configurations:
- Towed KATFISH™ Synthetic Aperture Sonar (SAS) system, deployed on a Surface Vessel of Opportunity (the R/V Ocean Seeker). This could also be tested onboard an RCN Asset (such as the Kingston-class MCDV). One purpose of the test is to show that in combination with RaaS, vessels of opportunity can also be used at a lower cost and higher availability to augment the RCN’s capabilities.
- Untethered Light Weight SAS system, deployed on an RCN Underwater Vessel of Opportunity (REMUS 100 AUV), and tested with the KATFISH™ system above. A purpose of this test is to show that RaaS can be quickly added to existing RCN assets, to augment their capabilities.
Benefits to the Navies
Kraken believes its RaaS offering could provide significant benefits to other navies around the world. With Kraken RaaS, navies can access cutting edge technology “as needed”, without concern for equipment obsolescence, life cycle costs, or operator skill fade. As it relates specifically to the RCN, Kraken RaaS offers many advantages:
- Both RCN operating bases, MARLANT (Maritime Forces Atlantic) and MARPAC (Maritime Forces Pacific) are mandated to maintain Q-routes (safe passage lanes along the coasts and into designated harbors, of Canadian waters) on an annual basis. These surveys take a significant amount of time with current RCN technology due to image quality and speed of current towed bodies. Kraken’s technology would greatly enhance the image quality and reduce the time of the surveys significantly due to the advance in state-of-the-art technology.
- Kraken’s technology can be deployed to assist the RCN in mapping areas of interest ahead of regular exercises and operations, with the image quality required to enable change detection and optimize revisit rates. This has the potential to provide the RCN with a competitive edge for detecting bottom objects in complex seabeds.
- Kraken’s technology and service application can augment route survey activities while simultaneously supporting near shore hydrographic mapping and charting requirements on an annual basis with high-definition resolution, freeing up valuable Navy assets for other mission critical functions
Commenting on this contract, Karl Kenny, Kraken President and CEO noted:
“Kraken is excited to be able to offer RaaS to the RCN as an “Early Adopter” to augment existing RCN Route Survey with a Service offering based on the latest SAS technology available. Kraken seeks to offer our Robotics as a Service globally, in particular to other NATO allies, and this contract for the RCN’s evaluation will serve as an excellent reference. The RCN’s objective comparison of the data from our RaaS offering against legacy sonar data will provide demonstrative evidence of the superior image resolution and accuracy of Kraken survey data.”