Submersible Device Patents (Class 114/312)
  • Patent number: 10710845
    Abstract: The present invention provides a method to hand over a load, in particular when submerged, from a first hoisting device to a second hoisting device, comprising the steps of: providing a rigid intermediate device having a first connection point and a second connection point, wherein the first connection point and the second connection point are spaced with respect to each other with a distance of at least 5 meters, and wherein the intermediate device is configured to be connected to the load, connecting the load to the intermediate device, connecting the first hoisting device to the first connection point, suspending the load completely from the first hoisting device, connecting the second hoisting device to the second connection point, and—transferring the load from the first hoisting device to the second hoisting device, until the load is completely suspended from the second hoisting device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 6, 2017
    Date of Patent: July 14, 2020
    Assignee: HEEREMA MARINE CONTRACTORS NEDERLAND SE
    Inventors: Maarten Arie Ripping, Cornelis Benard
  • Patent number: 10669000
    Abstract: A docking system has flat funnel and a slotted ramp at the end of the flat funnel. The ramp has a plurality of inclined planes, each on a respective side of the slot. A docking adapter, fitted over an underwater vehicle, includes a guide plane and a mask. The funnel guides the guide plane to the top of the ramp during docking/charging of the underwater vehicle. Another aspect of the invention is a highly maneuverable glider including a forwardly mounted buoyancy module followed, in order, by a pitch module, a processing module, and a roll module, mounted concentrically with respect to each other. The glider may be attached to any docking system. When used in conjunction with the docking system of the present invention, the glider may be attached to either the flat funnel or the docking adapter of the docking system of the present invention.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 10, 2018
    Date of Patent: June 2, 2020
    Assignee: The Governement of the United States of America, as represented by the Secretary of the Navy
    Inventors: Nina Mahmoudian, Brian Page
  • Patent number: 10661867
    Abstract: An underwater drone is disclosed. The underwater drone includes a horizontal propeller module and a vertical propeller module to respectively provide a drone body with a horizontal proceeding force and a vertical lifting or diving force. The underwater drone includes a horizontal channel and a vertical channel, which allow the water to pass through for reducing resistance when the underwater drone moves forwards, upwards or downwards. The underwater drone is equipped with a buoy member with an antenna portion of a communication module disposed therein. The underwater drone is equipped with the fishing device, the fish finding device and the image capturing module. Therefore, the underwater drone is capable of fishing, rapidly moving and wireless remote control.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 19, 2017
    Date of Patent: May 26, 2020
    Assignee: PowerVision Tech Inc.
    Inventors: Weifeng Zheng, Zhixiong He, Di Zheng, Hailiang Wu, Jie Tang, Guangzhang Wu
  • Patent number: 10632893
    Abstract: A computing system for an autonomous engine module stores a self-driving capability and is configured to determine, by communication between an autonomous engine module in which the computing system resides and other autonomous engine modules, and responsive to a user request for use of an autonomous engine module, at least one suitable autonomous engine module use candidate. The computing system may also generate a notification directed to the user including information relating to the at least one suitable autonomous engine module use candidate. The computing system may also receive a selection by the user of an autonomous engine module use candidate. The computing system may also, using the self-driving capability, autonomously drive the autonomous engine module to a designated pickup location responsive to selection by the user of the autonomous engine module as the autonomous engine module use candidate.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 18, 2019
    Date of Patent: April 28, 2020
    Assignee: Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc.
    Inventors: Michael J. Delp, Christopher M. Higgins
  • Patent number: 10604221
    Abstract: An unmanned underwater vehicle of a system for the maintenance and inspection of permanent underwater facilities having a first interface configured for structurally and functionally coupling to an operational module selected on the basis of specific needs from a plurality of interchangeable operational modules featuring different characteristics, and a second interface configured for structurally and functionally coupling to a power and communication module selected on the basis of specific needs from a plurality of interchangeable power and communication modules featuring different characteristics.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 10, 2017
    Date of Patent: March 31, 2020
    Assignee: SAIPEM S.p.A.
    Inventors: Paolo Bonel, Giovanni Massari, Diego Lazzarin
  • Patent number: 10589829
    Abstract: A robotic submersible includes a housing having a body and a tail. In another aspect, a pump and a pump tank adjust the buoyancy of a submersible housing. In a further aspect, a first linear actuator controls the pump and/or a buoyancy, and/or a second linear actuator controls a position of a battery and/or adjusts a center of gravity. Another aspect includes a pump and at least one linear actuator that control gliding movements of the housing. In still a further aspect, a motor couples a tail with a body, such that the motor controls the movements of the tail to create a swimming movement. Moreover, an additional aspect provides a controller selectively operating the pump, first actuator, second actuator, and motor to control when swimming and gliding movements occur.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 20, 2017
    Date of Patent: March 17, 2020
    Assignee: Board of Trustees of Michigan State University
    Inventors: Xiaobo Tan, Feitian Zhang, Jianxun Wang, John Thon
  • Patent number: 10569423
    Abstract: A target spar. A left jaw member. The left guidance portion has a left spiral curve. The left arm portion has a left arm profile, a left arm gear, and a left arm protrusion. A right jaw member. The right guidance portion has a right spiral curve. The right arm portion comprises a right arm gear and a right arm protrusion. A top plate member. A bottom plate member. A drive unit comprising an electric motor within a pressure housing. A drive shaft on the electric motor. The bottom plate member abuts the left jaw member, the right jaw member, and the top plate member. The left jaw member and the right jaw member opened and closed. At the closed position, the target spar is slidably received in the left and right jaw members, the top and bottom plate members, and abuts the left and right arm profiles.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 28, 2018
    Date of Patent: February 25, 2020
    Assignee: United States of America as represented by Secretary of the Navy
    Inventors: Anthony D. Jones, Gregory W. Anderson, Wayne P. Liu, Maxwell M. Kerber, Michael R. Murphy
  • Patent number: 10556644
    Abstract: A coupling device for recovering an unmanned ship includes: a coupling unit, which is lifted and lowered by being connected to a crane provided in a mother ship; an accommodation unit provided in the unmanned ship, and having a vertically communicating coupling hole; a guide unit performing guiding such that the coupling unit is coupled to the accommodation unit, and including a towing line formed to be long, and a winch connected to the other side of the towing line so as to selectively wind or unwind the towing line; and a control unit including a sensing part for sensing the tension applied to the towing line by the driving of the winch, and a control part for lowering the coupling unit connected to the crane, if the intensity of the tension sensed by the sensing part is a preset value or higher.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 15, 2017
    Date of Patent: February 11, 2020
    Assignee: KOREA INSTITUTE OF OCEAN SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
    Inventors: Sun Young Kim, Yeon Gyu Kim, Nam Sun Son
  • Patent number: 10534404
    Abstract: Implementations of communication devices may include: a housing having a hollow compartment in a waterproof shell. The waterproof shell may be configured to float on a surface of water. The communication device may include a computing system having a memory and a processor within the hollow compartment of the housing. The communication device may include an onboard power unit electrically coupled with the computing system. One or more radios may be coupled with the housing and with the onboard power unit and the computing system. The one or more radios may be configured to act as a gateway by receiving data from one or more watercrafts and transmitting the data to one or more receivers over a radio telecommunication channel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 11, 2019
    Date of Patent: January 14, 2020
    Assignee: Onet Global, Inc.
    Inventor: Sampriti Bhattacharyya
  • Patent number: 10526062
    Abstract: This invention relates to a subsea Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) hub. In particular, the invention relates to a subsea ROV hub comprising a plurality of compartments for housing and deploying a plurality of ROVs.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 21, 2017
    Date of Patent: January 7, 2020
    Assignee: Kepple Offshore & Marine Technology Center Pte Ltd
    Inventors: Aziz Amirali Merchant, Anis Altaf Hussain, Sreekala Kumar, Ankit Kumar Choudhary
  • Patent number: 10501159
    Abstract: An unmanned underwater vehicle may comprise a remotely operated underwater vehicle and an autonomously operating underwater vehicle. The unmanned underwater vehicle may also comprise a first connection to the remotely operated underwater vehicle. The first connection may serve to exchange data. The unmanned underwater vehicle may additionally comprise a second connection to the remotely operated underwater vehicle. The second connection may serve to supply energy. The unmanned underwater vehicle may still further include a third connection to the autonomously operating underwater vehicle, which third connection serves to exchange data.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 13, 2016
    Date of Patent: December 10, 2019
    Assignees: THYSSENKRUPP MARINE SYSTEMS GMBH, THYSSENKRUPP AG
    Inventors: Christian Frühling, Hendrik Brandt, Axel Panoch
  • Patent number: 10486851
    Abstract: In a pressure-resistant glass sphere used for exploration of deep sea, ocean floor or the like, it is an important issue to reduce weight and increase a floating force while keeping pressure resistance capable of withstanding high water pressure of deep sea or the like and being used repeatedly. A pressure-resistant glass sphere of the present invention is composed of a pair of glass-made hollow hemispherical bodies, wherein the glass-made hollow hemispherical bodies are joined with each other at ground joint surfaces located on an equatorial plane of the pressure-resistant glass sphere so that the ground joint surfaces serve as a joining surface, and characterized in that a thickness of a spherical shell of the glass-made hollow hemispherical bodies is thicker at an equatorial plane portion than the portion other than the equatorial plane portion having a predetermined width from the ground joint surfaces.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 27, 2017
    Date of Patent: November 26, 2019
    Assignee: Okamoto Glass Co., Ltd.
    Inventor: Hiroshi Takahashi
  • Patent number: 10464645
    Abstract: A method of adjusting buoyancy of an Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) includes measuring buoyancy drift of the UUV when underwater. After docking the UUV with a subsea station, a quantity of a flowable buoyancy-adjustment material held onboard the UUV is changed by transferring that material from the station to the UUV or from the UUV to the station. A buoyancy adjustment system for a UUV includes: an onboard tank for holding a variable quantity of the buoyancy-adjustment material and upwardly-opening and downwardly-opening passageways communicating with the tank for transferring the buoyancy-adjustment material to or from the UUV. The subsea station includes: a dock for docking a UUV; a holding tank for holding the buoyancy-adjustment material; and at least one upwardly-opening or downwardly-opening passageway aligned with the dock and communicating with the holding tank for transferring the buoyancy-adjustment material to or from the docked UUV.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 13, 2016
    Date of Patent: November 5, 2019
    Assignee: Subsea 7 Limited
    Inventor: James Andrew Jamieson
  • Patent number: 10456924
    Abstract: A two-part, selectively dockable robotic system having counterbalanced stabilization during performance of an operation on an underwater target structure is provided. The robotic system includes a first underwater robotic vehicle that is sized and shaped to at least partially surround the underwater target structure. A second underwater robotic vehicle is sized and shaped to at least partially surround the underwater target structure and selectively dock with the first underwater robotic vehicle. The first and second robotic vehicles include complimentary docking mechanisms that permit the vehicles to selectively couple to each other with the underwater target structure disposed at least partially therebetween. One robot includes a tool that can act upon the target structure and the other robot includes a stabilization module that can act upon the target structure in an opposite manner in order to counterbalance the force of the tool.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 5, 2018
    Date of Patent: October 29, 2019
    Assignee: Saudi Arabian Oil Company
    Inventors: Ali Outa, Fadl Abdellatif, Sahejad Patel, Hassane Trigui
  • Patent number: 10392086
    Abstract: A system for underwater remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and wirelessly controlled subsystems is provided. The system comprises an ROV and a subsystem mounted to the ROV. The ROV includes a microcontroller, a main battery, and a transmitter-receiver. The subsystem includes a controller and a transmitter-receiver. The ROV is configured to communicate wirelessly with the subsystem via signals transmitted between the ROV transmitter-receiver and the subsystem transmitter-receiver. The system can further comprise a control center having a transmitter-receiver configured to communicate wirelessly with the ROV transmitter-receiver and the subsystem transmitter-receiver. The system can further comprise at least one relay module configured to relay signals between the transmitter-receivers of the system. The ROV of the system can also be configured to wirelessly transfer power from the main battery to the power source of the subsystem, such as by resonance coupling.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 26, 2016
    Date of Patent: August 27, 2019
    Assignee: SAUDI ARABIAN OIL COMPANY
    Inventors: Hassane Trigui, Sahejad Patel, Ali Outa, Ayman Amer, Fadl Abdellatif, Ameen Obedan
  • Patent number: 10358042
    Abstract: An underwater mobile body includes: a secondary battery; a detector that detects a remaining amount of electricity stored in the secondary battery; a power generation unit that uses natural energy to generate electricity with which the secondary battery is charged; and a transition unit that when the remaining amount of electricity detected by the detector decreases below a predetermined threshold, causes transition to a charge mode in which the secondary battery is charged.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 26, 2017
    Date of Patent: July 23, 2019
    Assignee: FUJI XEROX CO., LTD.
    Inventors: Yoshihiko Nemoto, Tsutomu Kimura, Motofumi Baba, Masahiro Sato, Akihito Yamauchi, Kengo Tokuchi
  • Patent number: 10343749
    Abstract: A self-balancing pressure hull device, belonging to the field of pressure structure technology of deep-sea submersibles, being assembled by nesting, from inside to outside, a spherical inner housing, a spherical intermediate housing and a spherical outer housing around the sphere center, pairs of symmetric coaxial connecting shaft components being connected between the spherical inner housing and the spherical intermediate housing and between the spherical intermediate housing and the spherical outer housing, respectively; axes of the two pairs of connecting shaft components are perpendicular to each other so as to enable the spherical inner housing and the spherical intermediate housing to rotate relative to each other, and the spherical intermediate housing and the spherical outer housing to rotate relative to each other, and each of the connecting shaft components in the two pairs being provided with a spring damper for resisting the axial impact between each two adjacent housings.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 9, 2016
    Date of Patent: July 9, 2019
    Assignee: JIANGSU UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
    Inventors: Jian Zhang, Tong Zhou, Wenxian Tang, Weiguang Zhang, Mige Dai, Bing Zhang, Saisai Feng, Shijie Su, Ben Zhang
  • Patent number: 10338195
    Abstract: Techniques are disclosed for systems and methods to provide networkable sonar systems for mobile structures. A networkable sonar system includes a transducer module and associated sonar electronics and optionally orientation and/or position sensors and/or other sensors disposed substantially within the housing of a sonar transducer assembly, which is coupled to one or more user interfaces and/or other sonar systems over an Ethernet connection. The sonar transducer assembly may be configured to support and protect the transducer module and the sonar electronics and sensors, to physically and/or adjustably couple to a mobile structure, and/or to provide a simplified interface to other systems coupled to the mobile structure. Resulting sonar data and/or imagery may be transmitted over the Ethernet connection and displayed to a user and/or used to adjust various operational systems of the mobile structure.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 10, 2017
    Date of Patent: July 2, 2019
    Assignee: FLIR Belgium BVBA
    Inventors: Paul Stokes, Matthieu Maindrou, Paul S. Chittenden
  • Patent number: 10285309
    Abstract: The subject disclosure is directed towards a submerged datacenter, which may be made up of modules, into a body of water such as the ocean. The submersion facilitates cooling of the datacenter as well as providing protection of the datacenter from environmental conditions that exist at or near the surface. Power may be generated from the datacenter heat, and power generated by or near the body of water (e.g., via waves, tides, wind, currents, temperature differences) may be used to help power the datacenter.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 6, 2017
    Date of Patent: May 7, 2019
    Assignee: Microsoft Technology Licensing, LLC
    Inventors: Sean James, Todd Robert Rawlings
  • Patent number: 10214304
    Abstract: The technical objective of the present disclosure is to provide an apparatus for driving a three-dimensional microgravity cable that can reproduce microgravity environments such as those experienced on the moon or Mars. To this end, the apparatus for driving a three-dimensional microgravity cable of the present disclosure comprises: a frame unit for forming a virtual space; a wire unit comprising three or more wires, provided at the frame unit; a winch unit for winding or unwinding each of the three or more wires; tension measuring units, respectively provided at the three or more wires, for measuring the tensions of the respective wires; a position sensing unit, provided at the frame unit, for sensing the position of a participant; and a support unit, positioned in the virtual space, for supporting the participant by the three or more wires.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 9, 2015
    Date of Patent: February 26, 2019
    Assignee: Korea Institute of Industrial Technology
    Inventors: O-hung Kwon, Jae-hwan Park, Dae-hee Won, Jin-young Kim
  • Patent number: 10191172
    Abstract: A system (1) for operating a subsea sensor field (2), comprises an automated underwater vehicle—AUV (10) and a subsea service station (13). A sensor (11, 12) in the sensor field (2) comprises a permanently installed base unit (11) and a removable control unit (12). The AUV (10) moves control units (12) to the service station (13) for charging and updating, and then back to the base units.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 26, 2016
    Date of Patent: January 29, 2019
    Assignee: OCTIO AS
    Inventors: Leon Løvheim, Bjarte Even Fagerås, Magne Oldervoll, Helge Brandsaeter
  • Patent number: 10124494
    Abstract: A two-part, selectively dockable robotic system having counterbalanced stabilization during performance of an operation on an underwater target structure is provided. The robotic system includes a first underwater robotic vehicle that is sized and shaped to at least partially surround the underwater target structure. A second underwater robotic vehicle is sized and shaped to at least partially surround the underwater target structure and selectively dock with the first underwater robotic vehicle. The first and second robotic vehicles include complimentary docking mechanisms that permit the vehicles to selectively couple to each other with the underwater target structure disposed at least partially therebetween. One robot includes a tool that can act upon the target structure and the other robot includes a stabilization module that can act upon the target structure in an opposite manner in order to counterbalance the force of the tool.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 23, 2017
    Date of Patent: November 13, 2018
    Assignee: Saudi Arabian Oil Company
    Inventors: Ali Outa, Fadl Abdellatif, Sahejad Patel
  • Patent number: 10120103
    Abstract: A system for mapping a thermocline in a body of fluid includes a thermocline detection and monitoring module, a persistent data storage module; and a plurality of distributed sensors, including intelligent sensors, connected with the at least one thermocline detection and monitoring module and the persistent data storage module by one or more control-level programming and communication methods. The thennocline detection and monitoring module can monitor the thermocline at sampling intervals to collect and fuse measurement data from the plurality of sensors to capture thermocline changes as events, correlate measurement data and events, store measurement data in the persistent data storage module along with previously acquired measurement data for comparison and tracking, characterize the thermocline as a function of spatial location, depth, and time, create and maintain reports that describe the thermocline characteristics, status, trends, and provide multimodal notifications of events to different users.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 30, 2015
    Date of Patent: November 6, 2018
    Assignee: INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORPORATION
    Inventors: Eli M. Dow, Michael Kelly, Harry R. Kolar, Michael L. Passow
  • Patent number: 10099760
    Abstract: Apparatuses, systems, and methods for the deployment of a plurality of autonomous underwater seismic vehicles (AUVs) on or near the seabed based on acoustic communications with an underwater vehicle, such as a remotely operated vehicle. In an embodiment, the underwater vehicle is lowered from a surface vessel along with a subsea station with a plurality of AUVs. The AUVs are configured to acoustically communicate with the underwater vehicle or a second surface vessel for deployment and retrieval operations. The underwater vehicle and/or second surface vessel is configured to instruct the AUVs to leave the subsea station or underwater vehicle and to travel to their intended seabed destination. The underwater vehicle and/or second surface vessel is also configured to selectively instruct the AUVs to leave the seabed and return to a seabed location and/or a subsea station for retrieval.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 18, 2018
    Date of Patent: October 16, 2018
    Assignee: Seabed Geosolutions B.V.
    Inventors: Arne Henning Rokkan, Geir Valsvik, Bjarne Isfeldt, Jean-Baptiste Danre
  • Patent number: 10017060
    Abstract: An apparatus includes a shell having multiple ducts that define multiple flow passages through the shell. The apparatus also includes a core disposed within the shell and including one or more rechargeable power supplies. The apparatus further includes multiple drivers configured to cause water to flow through the ducts in order to maneuver the apparatus toward a host device. In addition, the apparatus includes at least one interface on the shell, where the at least one interface is configured to receive power from the one or more rechargeable power supplies and provide the power to the host device. The apparatus may be configured to dock with the host device and to be transported by and supply the power to the host device as the host device travels through a body of water.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 13, 2016
    Date of Patent: July 10, 2018
    Assignee: Raytheon Company
    Inventors: Gregory W. Heinen, Marcos M. Sastre Cördova
  • Patent number: 10002680
    Abstract: An apparatus for generating a pressure wave in a liquid medium is disclosed. The apparatus includes a plurality of pressure wave generators having respective moveable pistons, the pistons having respective control rods connected thereto. The apparatus also includes a plurality of transducers coupled to the liquid medium and means for causing the pistons of respective ones of the plurality of the pressure wave generators to be accelerated toward respective ones of the plurality of transducers. The apparatus further includes means for causing restraining forces to be applied to respective control rods to cause respective pistons to impact respective transducers at respective desired times and with respective desired amounts of kinetic energy such that the respective desired amounts of kinetic energy are converted into a pressure wave in the liquid medium.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 21, 2009
    Date of Patent: June 19, 2018
    Assignee: General Fusion Inc.
    Inventors: Michel Georges Laberge, Daniel Gelbart, Ross Henry Hill, Denis J. Connor
  • Patent number: 10000264
    Abstract: An underwater watercraft including a passenger compartment and an ingress egress port in which the watercraft has buoyancy and center of gravity adjusted to maintain a generally level or other desired attitude when submerged, and an angled attitude at a water surface for ingress/egress. The attitude also is adjustable via the placement of ballast and optionally including a movable ballast that adjusts the location of the center of gravity as desired. The ingress-egress port optionally includes an entry elevated from a main passenger compartment, that has an angled orientation in a submerged mode, and an optional orientation generally parallel to the water surface in a surface mode.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 3, 2014
    Date of Patent: June 19, 2018
    Inventor: Ian Sheard
  • Patent number: 9983581
    Abstract: A method and system comprises a plurality of electronically controlled distributed devices and a supervisory node. The supervisory node comprises a communications interface, a processor, and a display. The supervisory node is configured to communicate with the plurality of electronically controlled distributed devices via the communications interface.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 14, 2017
    Date of Patent: May 29, 2018
    Assignee: SPARKCOGNITION, INC.
    Inventors: Syed Mohammad Amir Husain, John Rutherford Allen
  • Patent number: 9969470
    Abstract: A system and method for performing a marine seismic survey of a subsurface. The method includes deploying under water, from a deploying vessel, an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV); recording with seismic sensors located on the AUV seismic waves generated by an acoustic source array; instructing the AUV to surface at a certain depth relative to the water surface; recovering the AUV by bringing the AUV on a recovery vessel; and transferring recorded seismic data to the recovery vessel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 14, 2012
    Date of Patent: May 15, 2018
    Assignee: CGG SERVICES SAS
    Inventors: Thierry Brizard, Alice Hervé, Erwan Postic, Peter Maxwell, Robert Dowle, Salvador Rodriguez
  • Patent number: 9944353
    Abstract: A hull that is part of a system for producing energy through the action of waves. The hull's shape, dimension and orientation make the system less costly and increase the energy provided by the system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 4, 2013
    Date of Patent: April 17, 2018
    Assignee: GWAVE LLC
    Inventor: Glenn L. Beane
  • Patent number: 9944355
    Abstract: A submersible remotely operated vehicle with a streamlined shape, which uses an internal support lattice to provide pressure resistance. By using a lattice frame to distribute the water pressure load on the vehicle, the vehicle may be constructed of thin-walled, injection molded plastic, yet may be capable of diving to significant depths. The vehicle may provide pitch control using a single vertical thrust actuator that is horizontally fore or aft of the center of vertical drag; this efficient pitch control improves hydrodynamic efficiency by pointing the vehicle towards the direction of travel to minimize the coefficient of drag. The vehicle may communicate wirelessly with a remote operator via a communications buoy tethered to the vehicle, thereby eliminating cabling constraints on the vehicle's range from the operator. The tether may be connected to the buoy using a waterproof connector that presses three terminals surrounded by a compliant seal onto mating contacts.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 13, 2017
    Date of Patent: April 17, 2018
    Assignee: OPENROV INC.
    Inventors: Eric Stackpole, Colin Ho
  • Patent number: 9828077
    Abstract: An underwater base for handling plural underwater vehicles equipped with seismic sensors for recording seismic signals during a marine seismic survey. The underwater base including a storing part configured to store the plural underwater vehicles; an inlet part located above the storing part and configured to control access of the plural underwater vehicles to the storing part; a control part configured to acoustically guide the plural underwater vehicles to the inlet part; and a support part configured to support the control part, the storing part and the inlet part. The storing part is further configured to receive the plural underwater vehicles as the plural underwater vehicles fall from the inlet part into the storing part.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 28, 2016
    Date of Patent: November 28, 2017
    Assignee: CGG SERVICES SAS
    Inventors: Antoine Lelaurin, Thierry Brizard
  • Patent number: 9718523
    Abstract: A robotic submersible includes a housing having a body and a tail. In another aspect, a pump and a pump tank adjust the buoyancy of a submersible housing. In a further aspect, a first linear actuator controls the pump and/or a buoyancy, and/or a second linear actuator controls a position of a battery and/or adjusts a center of gravity. Another aspect includes a pump and at least one linear actuator that control gliding movements of the housing. In still a further aspect, a motor couples a tail with a body, such that the motor controls the movements of the tail to create a swimming movement. Moreover, an additional aspect provides a controller selectively operating the pump, first actuator, second actuator, and motor to control when swimming and gliding movements occur.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 23, 2014
    Date of Patent: August 1, 2017
    Assignee: Board of Trustees of Michigan State University
    Inventors: Xiaobo Tan, Feitian Zhang, Jianxun Wang, John Thon
  • Patent number: 9694874
    Abstract: A submersible remotely operated vehicle with a streamlined shape, which uses an internal support lattice to provide pressure resistance. By using a lattice frame to distribute the water pressure load on the vehicle, the vehicle may be constructed of thin-walled, injection molded plastic, yet may be capable of diving to significant depths. The vehicle may provide pitch control using a single vertical thrust actuator that is horizontally fore or aft of the center of vertical drag; this efficient pitch control improves hydrodynamic efficiency by pointing the vehicle towards the direction of travel to minimize the coefficient of drag. The vehicle may communicate wirelessly with a remote operator via a communications buoy tethered to the vehicle, thereby eliminating cabling constraints on the vehicle's range from the operator. The tether may be connected to the buoy using a waterproof connector that presses three terminals surrounded by a compliant seal onto mating contacts.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 4, 2016
    Date of Patent: July 4, 2017
    Assignee: OPENROV INC.
    Inventors: Eric Stackpole, Colin Ho
  • Patent number: 9693676
    Abstract: A device fashioned in the shape of a toroid is rotated by a mechanism that propels itself in one or more directions based on internal rotation. In one specific example, the toroidal device is a toroidal balloon, where the tread of the toroidal balloon driven vehicle (TBDV) is self-contained and the entire outer surface is dynamic. Such a device is uniquely and ideally suitable for exploration of a tubular structure such as, but not limited to, the alimentary tract.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 6, 2014
    Date of Patent: July 4, 2017
    Inventor: J. Mathieu Massicotte
  • Patent number: 9677709
    Abstract: A gas recovery system for sub-sea use includes a sub-sea canister and a gas recovery entity. A bladder arranged within an interior of a housing of the gas recovery entity is configured to receive gas from the sub-sea canister via a pipe when a pressure of the gas exceeds a threshold at a sub-sea site.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 12, 2015
    Date of Patent: June 13, 2017
    Assignee: SIEMENS AKTIENGESELLSCHAFT
    Inventor: Hans Espedalen
  • Patent number: 9669912
    Abstract: The invention relates to an underwater work system 1 with at least one autonomous unmanned underwater vehicle 2 and one unmanned relay vehicle 4 floating at the surface of the water 3, which comprises a radio antenna 5 for external communication 26 and a drive 16. The underwater vehicle 2 is connected to the relay vehicle 4 via an internal communication device. The invention furthermore relates to a method for operating an underwater work system. In order to create an underwater work system with an autonomous underwater vehicle and an unmanned relay vehicle floating at the surface of the water as well as a method for operating such an underwater work system, which provides an increased efficiency of the autonomous underwater vehicle 2 with short mission times, it is provided according to the invention that the relay vehicle 4 is controllable by means of a control unit 16 via the at least one autonomous underwater vehicle 2 in due consideration of navigation information 17.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 13, 2013
    Date of Patent: June 6, 2017
    Assignee: ATLAS ELEKTRONIK GmbH
    Inventor: Sven-Christian Hesse
  • Patent number: 9605516
    Abstract: A method includes disconnecting subsea equipment containing a first fluid from an installation in a subsea environment, wherein the first fluid is a produced fluid that includes produced hydrocarbons. Furthermore, the method also includes raising the disconnected subsea equipment from the subsea environment and controlling a fluid pressure of the first fluid in the subsea equipment with an accumulator device while raising the subsea equipment from the subsea environment, wherein the accumulator device includes first and second adjustable accumulator chambers and a movable pressure boundary separating the first and second adjustable accumulator chambers.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 31, 2016
    Date of Patent: March 28, 2017
    Assignee: FMC Technologies, Inc.
    Inventor: Eric Randall Smedstad
  • Patent number: 9592895
    Abstract: Disclosed herein are an underwater docking system and a docking method using the system. An exemplary embodiment of the present invention relates to a system for docking a target body on a docking station under water, the system comprising: a guide unit provided to the docking station to transmit at least one guide signal to the target body; an agent unit connected to the docking station by a smart cable and disposed at a position spaced apart from the docking station so that the agent unit is moored under the water in a direction corresponding to a tidal current; and the target body configured to be guided toward the agent unit by the guide signal and then connected to a portion of the agent unit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 20, 2015
    Date of Patent: March 14, 2017
    Assignee: Postech Academy-Industry Foundation
    Inventors: Son-Cheol Yu, Jeong Hwe Gu, Han Gil Joe, Hyeon Woo Cho, Ju Hyun Pyo
  • Patent number: 9482075
    Abstract: Generally, the present disclosure is directed to systems that may be used to facilitate the retrieval and/or replacement of production and/or processing equipment that may be used for subsea oil and gas operations. In one illustrative embodiment, a system is disclosed that includes, among other things, subsea equipment (100) that is adapted to contain a first fluid while operating in a subsea environment (160), and an accumulator device (120a, 120b, 120c, 120d, 120e) that is in fluid communication with the subsea equipment (100), wherein a pressure boundary of the accumulator device (120a, 120b, 120c, 120d, 120e) is adapted to move in response to a pressure change on the subsea equipment (100) as the subsea equipment (100) is raised from the subsea environment (160).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 24, 2012
    Date of Patent: November 1, 2016
    Assignee: FMC Technologies, Inc.
    Inventor: Eric Randall Smedstad
  • Patent number: 9481438
    Abstract: A cowl assembly for an outboard motor includes first and second cowl members. A fastening assembly includes a latch coupled to one of the cowl members, and a retaining mechanism coupled to the other of the cowl members. The latch and the retaining mechanism engage one another to fasten the first and second cowl members together. A seal is configured to form a fluid tight joint between the cowl members. A shape memory alloy wire is coupled to at least one of the latch and the seal. A switch is configured to selectively provide electrical current to the shape memory alloy wire to activate the shape memory alloy wire. Activation of the shape memory alloy wire causes at least one of disengagement of the latch from the retaining mechanism and disengagement of the seal from one of the first and second cowl members, enabling separation of the cowl members.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 1, 2015
    Date of Patent: November 1, 2016
    Assignee: Brunswick Corporation
    Inventor: Andrew Tuchscherer
  • Patent number: 9463849
    Abstract: A flexible lifting tether system for lifting a marine vehicle or object is described which is capable of significantly improving the primary characteristics of an existing cable by enhancing load-carrying capabilities (e.g. in air), modifying the tether to have altered specific gravities in water, and relieving torsional stresses when in operation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 20, 2015
    Date of Patent: October 11, 2016
    Assignee: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
    Inventors: Robert McCabe, Andrew Bowen, Matthew Heintz
  • Patent number: 9457331
    Abstract: Methods and systems are presented for generating and performing a seismic data acquisition mission based on an a priori sea current model and a seismic data acquisition operation model and a shooting solution model based on the a priori sea current model. The individual models can be updated based on releasing sample buoys through the survey area both before and during mission execution.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 1, 2013
    Date of Patent: October 4, 2016
    Assignee: CGG SERVICES SA
    Inventor: Risto Siliqi
  • Patent number: 9403584
    Abstract: There are provide a pressure-resistant container which is less likely to be damaged due to stress concentration even in deep seas of 1000 m or deeper below sea level, and an exploration machine provided with the same. A pressure-resistant container includes a cylindrical first outer shell member; and substantially hemispherical second outer shell members which are respectively connected to both ends of the first outer shell member, and is constructed by selecting materials so that a Young's modulus E2 of a base material which constitutes the second outer shell members is smaller than a Young's modulus E1 of a base material which constitutes the first outer shell member.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 20, 2013
    Date of Patent: August 2, 2016
    Assignee: KYOCERA Corporation
    Inventors: Masao Yoshida, Naoyuki Ookubo, Kenichi Asakawa, Yosaku Maeda
  • Patent number: 9276283
    Abstract: A self-propelled microbial fuel cell apparatus includes a microbial fuel cell with a cathode electrode and an anode electrode wherein the anode electrode is enclosed within an enclosure that has an opening in it. The microbial fuel cell is positioned within a self-propelled delivery vehicle so that the electrodes of the fuel cell are exposed to interface with a microbial environment.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 23, 2014
    Date of Patent: March 1, 2016
    Assignee: The United States of America, as Represented by the Secretary of the Navy
    Inventors: Wayne P. Liu, Adriane Q. Wotawa-Bergen, David B. Chadwick, Ken E. Richter, Yolanda M. Arias-Thode
  • Patent number: 9254902
    Abstract: An underwater vehicle may include a buoyancy control system configured to use a dual-internal-reservoir configuration to enhance efficiency of changing buoyancy of the underwater vehicle. The buoyancy control system may utilize an incompressible fluid (e.g., oil or water) that is transferred between a first internal reservoir and an external chamber to affect buoyancy of the underwater vehicle. In exemplary implementations, a compressible fluid (e.g., air) may be used to inflate or deflate a second internal reservoir. The second internal reservoir may be disposed within the buoyancy control system so that it can act on the first internal reservoir by applying a compressive force or a tensive force on the first internal reservoir, depending on the pressure differences between the two reservoirs.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 11, 2014
    Date of Patent: February 9, 2016
    Assignee: MRV Systems, LLC
    Inventors: James Edward Dufour, Brian Kenneth Newville
  • Patent number: 9162740
    Abstract: A free vehicle suitable to serve as a platform to carry a variety of equipment to the ocean floor, actuate devices at the floor and at intermediate points on the way to and returning from the ocean floor is described. The free vehicle includes standardized power, control electronics, navigation equipment and mechanical release mechanisms that can be used in conjunction with custom experiments. Exemplary experiments include sensors and sampling equipment used for deep-sea exploration. The free vehicle platform provides for scalable designs to meet scientific needs and surface vessel constraints.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 31, 2014
    Date of Patent: October 20, 2015
    Inventors: Kevin Richard Hardy, Jonas Dean Cochran
  • Patent number: 9067648
    Abstract: An unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) shipboard launcher system, which comprises a deployment device and an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) launcher. The UUV launcher includes a frame, a canister coupler to facilitate coupling of a communication line canister of a UUV to the launcher, and a UUV coupling device supported about the frame to releasably secure the UUV to the launcher. The UUV launcher also includes an arming pin engagement feature supported about the frame, and operable to engage an arming pin of the UUV upon being secured to the launcher, as well as a separation device supported about the frame and adapted to force the UUV away from the UUV launcher upon release of the UUV by the UUV coupling device, which separation may function to remove the arming pin and arm the UUV.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 5, 2012
    Date of Patent: June 30, 2015
    Assignee: Raytheon Company
    Inventors: John Carcone, Domenic F. Napolitano
  • Patent number: 9057263
    Abstract: An apparatus for treating a medium, the apparatus including structure for generating a flow of a working fluid in a flow path, treatment structure for subjecting the medium to treatment and a delivery device for delivering the medium to the treatment structure, the treatment structure and the delivery device being operable in response to the flow of working fluid. A refuge chamber and method utilize such apparatus.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 21, 2009
    Date of Patent: June 16, 2015
    Inventors: Geoffrey Allan Whittaker, Gerald John Ness
  • Patent number: RE46054
    Abstract: An underwater vehicle including an axi-symmetric framing system rotatable about a centerline to define a shell of revolution having a uniformly-convex outer boundary. A narrow-beam sonar array is mounted on the axi-symmetric framing system, and includes a multitude of simultaneously-fireable and/or asynchronously-fireable transducers distributed substantially evenly over a 4?-steradian viewing angle. The present invention provides the necessary configuration for a vehicle wherein an internal algorithm can compare a “new” geometry to an “old” geometry collected earlier to construct a best fit of the new world map with the old world map and locate the vehicle within the context of the new world map. This then provides a completely independent mechanism for correction of the gradual drift in x and y that is not dependent on any form of external navigation aid.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 31, 2014
    Date of Patent: July 5, 2016
    Assignee: Piedra—Sombra Corporation, Inc.
    Inventors: William C. Stone, Bartholomew P. Hogan