Underwater inspection is increasingly in-demand. For example, you might be surprised just how many important energy assets are located underwater and need regular inspection and/or maintenance. That might include hydroelectric dams, transmission cables from offshore wind or underwater gas pipelines. In addition to energy, the need to safely explore underwater is critical for mine detection and removal, search and rescue, bridge and foundation inspection, aquaculture, scientific exploration, research and more.
Greensea Systems makes underwater exploration possible. Their mission is to develop technology to improve the relationship operators have with robotics by making the work they do together more productive and satisfying. To achieve this goal, they created the OPENSEA, a comprehensive software platform for ocean underwater robotic systems such as ROVs (remotely operated vehicles) and AUVs (autonomous underwater vehicles). Their platform continues to expand and integrates vehicles, sensors, and equipment into one robotic system for ocean exploration.
Improving the user interface
As Greensea’s underwater robotic navigation and control software became more advanced with deeper functionality, they ran into limitations with the topside element of their control solutions.
What is the topside?
The topside is a waterproof case, usually a Pelican case or something similar, that offers a joystick, screen, and keyboard - all the basic controls for users to interface with the underwater robot. The computer platform that manages all the controls is housed inside that casing. Unlike the ROV, the user interface stays above water - aka, the topside.
While you may picture the topside near the ROV on a boat, the safest place for a ROV operator may not be on that boat. Using cellular or satellite communications, the topside can literally be located anywhere - even hundreds or thousands of miles away.
Development of an upgrade kit
Greensea’s users were looking for some new topside advancements. Greensea and Teledyne Seabotix worked together to address these requests and created the vLBV upgrade kit. They turned to OnLogic for a hardware platform.
“When looking for a hardware platform, we needed it to be as open and accommodating as our software. We were looking for a platform and a vendor that shared that concept of agility. We found that with OnLogic.”- Chelsea Allen, VP of Operations
The hardware requirements were very strict:
- Durable to withstand frequent transportation
- Small form factor to fit inside the housing
- Highly configurable with a variety of I/O options
- Fanless cooling capabilities with high thermal rating
Greensea selected the ML100 Series fanless industrial computer that blends high-performance with a small form factor and a lot of I/O options. The end result is a computer that is as versatile as it is compact.
“In addition to all of our hardware requirements, we needed a reliable supply chain. OnLogic ticked all the boxes for us.”- Chelsea Allen, VP of Operations
Lifecycle management services by OnLogic
As a software company, the team at Greensea wants to focus their engineering time on product development and not hardware selection. They were pleased with OnLogic’s commitment to customer service and product lifecycle management. OnLogic takes great care to offer embedded life cycles of at least 3-5 years on the vast majority of our hardware solutions. However, as technology advances, end-of-life (EOL) notifications on components are inevitable.
When the motherboard in Greensea’s selected platform reached its end of life, OnLogic worked with the team at Greensea to ensure a seamless transition to a replacement product.
“In the product development process, platform selection can take a lot of time and energy. When the platform we were using with OnLogic went EOL, they came to us with a replacement. We didn’t need to spend time vetting another platform, OnLogic did that for us. We really appreciate our collaborative relationship with OnLogic.”- Chelsea Allen, VP of Operations
What’s next for Greensea?
Greensea is rapidly growing as the need for underwater robotic exploration expands. They recently opened a new office location in San Diego to give them even more opportunity for growth and proximity to key customers. Greensea expects that continued advancements will always push the limits of their team and hardware, but they know they can rely on OnLogic to find solutions to whatever technology challenges they face next.