The module shown, above the Remote Joystick, is a designed to fit into a typical RHIB or small patrol boat. Seven MIL-C connectors are used for serial, analogue and digital I/O signals including the command datalink; control signals for an Electronic Throttle Unit (MHK NEC KE5+), ignition control, front panel and steering control signals.
Other formats are available for smaller craft such as small electric riverine and reservoir survey vehicles.
Typical applications are vehicles up to 15 metres in length, at speeds ranging from less than 1 kt to over 50 kts. Performance is limited primarily by the ability of the vehicle’s own navigational sensors to operate correctly at high speeds, and the performance of the vehicle itself.
The application shown here is a survelliance RHIB operated by NURC.
To facilitate the operation of Unmanned Surface Vehicles, SPECTRE processor has the ability to communicate, using a remote control protocol, across a radio link or some other remote signalling system. The SPECTRE system provides the additional circuitry for controlling the hydraulic steering pumps and electronic throttle, as well as the navigational sensor suite and the ignition and starter circuitry. Remote control of additional channels, for example cameras, is provided. Safety cut-outs and fail-safe operation are included.
High speed operations
SPECTRE is equipped with advanced sensor datafusion and adaptive autopilot algorithms which aid stability at high speed. Agile craft such as RHIBs have a tendency to begin “snaking” when the autopilot is engaged at high speed, especially when following waypoints. SPECTRE’s advanced adaptive algorithms are able to overcome these issues, resulting in a straight track with no significant oscillation.
Potential applications include:
- Surveillance: the autopilot controls the vessel to follow a pre-defined track within the survey area, while payload instruments are employed, for instance, side-scan sonar, visual/infrared imagery. The SPECTRE autopilot autonomously navigates the craft, while the command link is used to communicate with the payload sensors or the autopilot may be pre-programmed to switch on instruments at specific way-points. The system provides command and control channels for remote control and monitoring the payload.
- Remote controlled mine hunting: the SPECTRE autopilot is ideally suited to control the vessel at low speeds and in hover manoeuvres while payload instruments are deployed. A special mode controls the vehicle to stay on a fixed station relative to the host ship and can be used to scan the area ahead of a warship under way.
- Target and target towing: the autopilot can be fitted either to the target itself or to a towing vessel. The proven SPECTRE technology can control a light craft at towing speeds, and the compass stabilisation technology allows the autopilot to maintain heading even in significant sea states.