Detachably Connected To A Main Vessel Patents (Class 114/322)
  • Patent number: 10407135
    Abstract: Certain aspects of the present disclosure generally relate to motion compensation between water-borne objects, and, more particularly, to synchronizing motion between a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and a docking station of a launch and recovery system (LARS). An exemplary method includes receiving a measurement corresponding to a particle motion in water surrounding an ROV and synchronizing motion of a docking station with a motion of the ROV based at least in part on the measurement corresponding to the particle motion.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 16, 2016
    Date of Patent: September 10, 2019
    Assignee: PGS GEOPHYSICAL AS
    Inventors: Rune Tønnessen, Torbjørn Ursin
  • Patent number: 10384752
    Abstract: Apparatuses, systems, and methods for the docking of an underwater vehicle (such as a ROV) to a subsea structure (such as a basket or cage) for the transfer of payload devices, such as ocean bottom seismic nodes. The ROV may have a docking probe that is rotatable between an extended and retracted position by a rotatory actuator. The subsea structure may have a docking receptacle that receives the docking probe while the probe is in an extended position. The docking probe and receptacle can latch and/or be secured together by a variety of mechanisms. Once secured, the docking probe can rotate thereby changing the relative positions (horizontal and/or vertical) of the ROV and the subsea structure. The underwater vehicle may have an elevator mechanism that may move vertically and/or horizontally and that is coupled to a handler or grabber for handling and/or transfer of the payload devices.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 8, 2017
    Date of Patent: August 20, 2019
    Assignee: Seabed Geosolutions B.V.
    Inventors: Brendan James Reid, Benjamin Jeremy Ash
  • Patent number: 9969471
    Abstract: A submarine structure provides a submarine in which the interior thereof is formed with an accommodation space and an electricity storing chamber connected to the accommodation space and having a battery and a power set having a propeller, and includes: at least one pipe, having the interior installed with at least one cable; at least one floating member, connected to another end of the at least one pipe; at least one energy supplier, disposed and in the floating member or the accommodation space and located at a relatively higher location inside the floating member or the accommodation space; and at least one control board, installed in the accommodation space of the submarine or the floating member, wherein the control board is connected to the energy supplier through the cable of the at least one pipe for providing power and maintaining communication and control.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 10, 2016
    Date of Patent: May 15, 2018
    Inventor: Chen-Hsin Lin
  • Patent number: 9878211
    Abstract: Disclosed is a propulsion system that comprises a power source coupled to a flotation device. The power source can be rechargeable. The system further comprises at least one thruster configured to be coupled to a person. A power cable operably couples the power source and the at least one thruster. The system is configured such that the at least one thruster propels the person through the water while the power source remains at a surface of the water and coupled to the flotation device. The system can include an air supply assembly.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 29, 2016
    Date of Patent: January 30, 2018
    Assignee: RIG LLC
    Inventor: Justin Knowles
  • Patent number: 9630812
    Abstract: A load transfer accessory for a loading apparatus such as a crane. The load transfer accessory is a holding mechanism that reduces unwanted movement in cylindrical cargos. The holding mechanism includes an attachment frame, a receiving member and an indexing clutch. The receiving member includes a curved surface for receiving the cylindrical cargo. The indexing clutch can be adjustably locked by wire rope tension to clock the receiving member in a desired angular orientation for loading operations.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 20, 2014
    Date of Patent: April 25, 2017
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Navy
    Inventor: Robert J. Galway
  • Patent number: 9540084
    Abstract: A submarine is designed for combating oil when submerged. The submarine includes a snout (14, 36) which is conduit-connected to a conduit leading into the submarine. The snout (14, 36) is part of an oil suction device and/or part of a device for bringing out an oil decomposition substance. The snout (14) may be designed in a rigid manner and be pivotable from a position between a pressure hull (6) of the submarine and an outer hull (10) forming an upper deck (12) of the submarine, into a position outside the outer hull (10). The snout (36) may also be designed in a flexible manner, wherein the snout (36) is fastened in a section adjacent to a free end, on an ROV (40).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 6, 2012
    Date of Patent: January 10, 2017
    Assignee: ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems GmbH
    Inventors: Hendrik Brandt, Jens Fischer
  • Patent number: 9505473
    Abstract: A remotely operated vehicle integrated system comprises one or more remotely operated vehicles (ROV) configured to be deployed substantially continuously subsea and one or more a tether management systems configured to be deployed substantially continuously subsea. The ROVs and tether management systems are typically deployed substantially continuously subsea where a first signal interface, e.g. for power and/or data, is operatively connecting the signal source deployed substantially permanently subsea and one or more of the ROVs operatively connected the signal source.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 23, 2014
    Date of Patent: November 29, 2016
    Assignee: OCEANEERING INTERNATIONAL, INC.
    Inventors: Kevin Francis Kerins, Peter Moles
  • Patent number: 9422042
    Abstract: A cantilevered rotatable carcass carrier includes a main carcass and two secondary carcasses. The two secondary carcasses are pivotally connected to two sides of the main carcass through two first cantilevers. The secondary carcasses are further pivotally connected with second cantilevers. The secondary carcasses further pivotally connected with an airtight cabin through the second cantilevers. By turning the secondary carcasses, the airtight cabin can be located under the main carcass to form a submarine mode or located above the main carcass to form a watch mode, broadening the recreation space on the water, such that the recreation space on the water is not limited to the type of two-dimensional space on the water. The present invention provides a novel water recreational carrier for the demands of different situations.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 23, 2014
    Date of Patent: August 23, 2016
    Assignee: SHIP AND OCEAN INDUSTRIES R&D CENTER
    Inventors: Min-Tsung Chen, Tsai-Min Chiang, Chien-Hung Liu, Po-Feng Wang
  • Patent number: 9341717
    Abstract: A vehicle position notification apparatus include a main body unit which includes at least a detection unit, an attachment unit and a communication unit; wherein the detection unit detects a body under detection; the attachment unit makes the main body unit adhere to the body under detection detected; and the communication unit transmits position information of the main body unit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 11, 2010
    Date of Patent: May 17, 2016
    Assignee: NEC CORPORATION
    Inventor: Isao Yamaguchi
  • Publication number: 20140331910
    Abstract: The invention relates to a device and a method for recovering an unmanned underwater vehicle. In order to ensure a safe recovery of an unmanned seconder underwater vehicle 2 by the primary underwater vehicle 1, the invention provides a recovery into a tender garage 4 for receiving the underwater vehicle 2 wherein the underwater vehicle 2 is centered in an entrance area 7 in front of a gate 5 of the tender garage 4 by means of at least one positioning current 8, which is generated outside of the peripheral area of the gate 5 and is oriented toward the entrance area 8. The underwater vehicle 2 is subsequently introduced into the tender garage 4.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 5, 2012
    Publication date: November 13, 2014
    Applicant: ATLAS ELEKTRONIK GMBH
    Inventor: Joachim Licht
  • Patent number: 8831393
    Abstract: Unmanned underwater vehicles (1) which can be controlled from a carrier platform (2) by an optical waveguide cable (3) can be used for widely differing missions. For mine countermeasures, the loss of the underwater vehicle (1) is often accepted, with the optical waveguide cable (3) also being destroyed by the explosion. To reduce the costs of a mission of the underwater vehicle, the invention provides for the optical waveguide cable (3) to be connected to the underwater vehicle (1) via a connecting device (4). The connecting device (4) comprises a connecting cable (8) and connecting elements (11, 12) at the ends (9, 10) of the connecting cable (8) for an optical waveguide cable (3) at one end and for an unmanned underwater vehicle (1) at the other end.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 17, 2010
    Date of Patent: September 9, 2014
    Assignee: Atlas Elektronik GmbH
    Inventor: Torsten Jung
  • Publication number: 20140230714
    Abstract: An external payload module or body that is mechanically attached to the exterior of a standard production AUV. The module expands the applications for which the AUV can be utilized and/or enhances an existing application(s), enabling current single or limited use AUV's to have multi-mission capability or enhancing existing capability without requiring complete redesign of the AUV. This approach capitalizes on the advantages of high-volume small AUV production to maintain low manufacturing and handling costs, while enabling greatly improved AUV mission flexibility.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 20, 2014
    Publication date: August 21, 2014
    Applicant: LOCKHEED MARTIN CORPORATION
    Inventors: Russell M. SYLVIA, Martin C. LEWIS, Robert P. GORDON, JR.
  • Publication number: 20140137788
    Abstract: A watercraft is disclosed which has the ability to automatically adjust one of its planes in relation to a surface of water to achieve useful goals.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 13, 2013
    Publication date: May 22, 2014
    Inventors: Edmundo Manuel Nabais Nobre, Luis António Bento Paulino Vargas, João Pedro Gomes da Silva Frazão, Maria Cristina Frazão Pissarra Gouveia
  • Publication number: 20140060417
    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: Application
    Filed: September 5, 2012
    Publication date: March 6, 2014
    Inventors: John Carcone, Domenic F. Napolitano
  • Patent number: 8601970
    Abstract: A tethered buoy housing and deployment system includes a housing for disposition in a vessel, a tether for interconnecting a portion of the housing and a buoy, a reel mounted in the housing and rotatable to unwind the tether, means for maintaining tension on the tether as the tether is unwound, and a platform and linkage assembly adapted to support the buoy and move the buoy between a vertical disposition for storage in the housing and an angled disposition for release of the buoy into an external fluid stream.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 13, 2011
    Date of Patent: December 10, 2013
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Navy
    Inventor: Jason M. Dorsky
  • Patent number: 8590476
    Abstract: The present invention relates to systems for launching and retrieving underwater craft from a ship. It consists mainly of a handling cradle for launching and retrieving an underwater vehicle, comprising a frame forming a dorsal ridge and providing an interface between lifting means, a crane for example, and the underwater vehicle. This frame comprises: means for adjusting the overall buoyancy; means for automatically aligning the vehicle with the dorsal ridge formed by the frame; means for grasping the vehicle from the surface after the frame has been aligned with the vehicle. In a preferred embodiment, the cradle comprises an onboard video camera enabling the operator onboard the ship to ensure that the vehicle attachment and release operations are carried out correctly. The invention advantageously allows the vehicle to be launched and retrieved automatically when the vehicle is under the surface in an area where it is not subject to the effects of the swell.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 3, 2009
    Date of Patent: November 26, 2013
    Assignee: Thales
    Inventors: Jean-Philippe Goudeau, Hervé Le Gras, Rémi Ruvio
  • Patent number: 8577288
    Abstract: The present invention relates to a transfer system for providing wireless data transfer, electrical power transfer and navigation between a mobile subsea vehicle and a deployed subsea station that uses acoustic and electromagnetic carrier signals for wireless communication and navigation. An inductive connector is provided for power transfer between mobile subsea vehicle and a deployed subsea station without conductive contact.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 13, 2011
    Date of Patent: November 5, 2013
    Assignee: WFS Technologies Ltd.
    Inventors: Mark Rhodes, Brendan Peter Hyland, Andrew Jaffrey
  • Patent number: 8448592
    Abstract: Methods and devices are provided for rescuing and recovering underwater vehicles. In one embodiment, a system is provided that includes a modular rescue device configured to attach to an underwater vehicle, such as with a tow line. The rescue device can include one or more emergency mechanisms that can be automatically and/or manually activated to aid in detecting the location of the underwater vehicle in the event of an emergency. One exemplary emergency mechanism includes a buoyancy mechanism, e.g., an expandable lift bag, configured to be inflated with a fluid to add buoyancy force to the system to pull the underwater vehicle toward a water surface. Another exemplary emergency mechanism includes a signaling mechanism configured to signal the underwater vehicle's location.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 28, 2008
    Date of Patent: May 28, 2013
    Assignee: Ocean Server Technology, Inc.
    Inventors: Jonathan C. Crowell, David Charles
  • Patent number: 8386112
    Abstract: A vessel hull robot navigation subsystem and method for a robot including a drive subsystem onboard the robot for driving the robot about the hull. A sensor subsystem onboard the robot outputs data combining robot and vessel motion. A memory onboard the robot includes data concerning the configuration of the hull and a desired path of travel for the robot. A fix subsystem communicates position fix data to the robot. A navigation processor onboard the robot is responsive to the memory data, the sensor subsystem, the position fix data, and the data concerning vessel motion. The navigation processor is configured to determine the position of the robot on the hull by canceling, form the sensor subsystem output data combining both robot and vessel motion, the determined vessel motion.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 17, 2010
    Date of Patent: February 26, 2013
    Assignee: Raytheon Company
    Inventors: James H. Rooney, III, Stephen C. Jacobsen, Fraser Smith
  • Patent number: 8336479
    Abstract: A submersible object management (SOM) system for releasing and/or recovering a plurality of submersible objects within a body of liquid includes a hold and a deployment system. The hold is configured to store the plurality of submersible objects. The deployment system is selectively operable to controllably release at least one of the plurality of submersible objects from the hold into submersion in the body of liquid and/or selectively operable to controllably direct at least one of the plurality of submersible objects into the hold from submersion in the body of liquid. The deployment system includes a guide that is selectively extendable to direct the at least one submersible object, the guide including a plurality of extendable guide members configured to engage the at least one submersible object.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 19, 2009
    Date of Patent: December 25, 2012
    Assignee: iRobot Corporation
    Inventors: Frederick Vosburgh, Charles A. Pell
  • Publication number: 20120298029
    Abstract: A submersible object management (SOM) system for releasing and/or recovering a plurality of submersible objects within a body of liquid includes a hold and a deployment system. The hold is configured to store the plurality of submersible objects. The deployment system is selectively operable to controllably release at least one of the plurality of submersible objects from the hold into submersion in the body of liquid and/or selectively operable to controllably direct at least one of the plurality of submersible objects into the hold from submersion in the body of liquid. The deployment system includes a guide that is selectively extendable to direct the at least one submersible object, the guide including a plurality of extendable guide members configured to engage the at least one submersible object.
    Type: Application
    Filed: January 19, 2009
    Publication date: November 29, 2012
    Inventors: Frederick Vosburgh, Charles A. Pell
  • Patent number: 8275493
    Abstract: A system and method are provided for launching and recovering an unmanned, water-born vehicle (UWBV) from a mother ship. The UWBV mimics the behavior of dolphins and is positioned ahead of the ship in preparation for bow riding. The UWBV uses a guidance system to position and keep in the bow wave. A high-frequency (HF) sonar transceiver array aboard the ship computes and sends course corrections to maintain the UWBV within the bow wave. The frequency range of the HF array can be 100 kHz or higher due to the short distance between the ship and the UWBV. Accordingly, the HF array can have a small aperture allowing for accurate bearing resolution. Course corrections can be sent on a near-continuous basis such that changes in thrust and rudder angle can be minimized to allow for accurate control of the UWBV.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 30, 2009
    Date of Patent: September 25, 2012
    Inventor: Anthony A. Ruffa
  • Publication number: 20120167814
    Abstract: A coupling head 8, coupled to an autonomous underwater vehicle 4 via a rendezvous head 18 that is connectable to or part of the underwater vehicle 4. The coupling head 8 has an alignment stabilizing arrangement 12 for stabilizing its alignment and position in the water below the water surface. The invention further relates to a coupling device 2 having the coupling head 8 and having a cable 10 which is detachably connectable, mechanically, electrically and in a signal-connecting manner, to the coupling head 8, and to a rendezvous device 16 having the rendezvous head 18. The underwater vehicle 4 has the rendezvous head 18 and/or the rendezvous device 16, and a coupling system 1, which comprises at least the coupling and rendezvous heads. The invention further relates to a coupling method 58 and a deployment method 56 of an autonomous underwater vehicle 4 which includes the coupling method 58.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 29, 2011
    Publication date: July 5, 2012
    Applicant: Atlas Elektronik GmbH
    Inventor: Jörg Kalwa
  • Patent number: 8171873
    Abstract: A submarine (1) has an assembly (3) for deploying a life raft (5), the assembly (3) being located in a well (7) formed outside the submarine's pressure hull (11). The assembly includes a pressure vessel (4) for storing the life raft (5) in a pressurized state. To deploy underwater, a lid (71) covering an opening to the well (7) is released to permit the assembly (3), which is buoyant, to ascend towards the water surface. A sensor (43) determines proximity to the water surface, whereby a pneumatic ram (42) in the pressure vessel is activated to eject the life raft (5) from the pressure vessel (4).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 9, 2006
    Date of Patent: May 8, 2012
    Assignee: Babcock Integrated Technology Limited
    Inventors: Michael Woolwright, Chris Murphy, James Dobbin
  • Patent number: 8146527
    Abstract: A system for connecting an auxiliary craft and a mother ship includes a cable suspended from the mother ship, a cable tensioner, a mother-ship coupler that is slideably engaged to the cable, a fixture that depends from the auxiliary craft, and an auxiliary-craft coupler. The auxiliary craft is maneuvered to engage the cable. Once engaged, the cable tensioner tensions the cable, thereby maintaining the auxiliary craft in position next to the mother ship. As the cable is tensioned, the auxiliary-craft coupler axially aligns to the mother-ship coupler. After axial alignment, the mother-ship coupler is released to slide into mating engagement with the auxiliary-craft coupler. Mated couplers enable bi-directional electrical or optical communications as well as the transfer of power, fuel or other fluids from the mother ship to the auxiliary craft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 22, 2009
    Date of Patent: April 3, 2012
    Assignee: Lockheed Martin Corporation
    Inventor: Alain T. Pellen
  • Patent number: 8047149
    Abstract: An Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (UUV) docking system is provided in which the UUV is responsive to a first rotating light beam (which emits from a submarine) to begin a docking procedure. The UUV utilizes a photodetector to detect the first light beam and to guide the UUV toward the submarine by utilizing the first light beam. In one embodiment, the UUV reflects light from the first light beam back to the submarine. A photodetector on the submarine detects the reflected light to ascertain that the UUV is locked onto the first light beam. The submarine then stops rotating the light beam so that a trajectory of the UUV heads in the direction of a docking station which is positioned on the submarine.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 8, 2010
    Date of Patent: November 1, 2011
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Navy
    Inventors: Lynn T. Antonelli, Fletcher A. Blackmon
  • Publication number: 20110192338
    Abstract: The present invention relates to systems for launching and retrieving underwater craft from a ship. It consists mainly of a handling cradle for launching and retrieving an underwater vehicle, comprising a frame forming a dorsal ridge and providing an interface between lifting means, a crane for example, and the underwater vehicle. This frame comprises: means for adjusting the overall buoyancy; means for automatically aligning the vehicle with the dorsal ridge formed by the frame; means for grasping the vehicle from the surface after the frame has been aligned with the vehicle. In a preferred embodiment, the cradle comprises an onboard video camera enabling the operator onboard the ship to ensure that the vehicle attachment and release operations are carried out correctly. The invention advantageously allows the vehicle to be launched and retrieved automatically when the vehicle is under the surface in an area where it is not subject to the effects of the swell.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 3, 2009
    Publication date: August 11, 2011
    Applicant: THALES
    Inventors: Jean-Philippe Goudeau, Hervé Le Gras, Rémi Ruvio
  • Patent number: 7926438
    Abstract: An underwater operations support system facilitates underwater exploration, monitoring, maintenance and construction operations associated with development of natural resources. The operations support system may include energy generation subsystems, energy accumulation subsystems, communication subsystems, docking stations, repair and maintenance robots, housings for divers, and video subsystems. Supported equipment includes ROVs, HROVs, AUVs, and other autonomous and semi-autonomous mobile robots which move materials, perform manual tasks, and survey the environment. Operational efficiency is enhanced by recharging, repairing and reconfiguring vehicles, and transferring data and commands between vehicles and a control station, without moving the vehicle to and from the surface, and without need for a surface ship to remain on site for the duration of operations.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 5, 2007
    Date of Patent: April 19, 2011
    Assignee: Schlumberger Technology Corporation
    Inventors: Julio C. Guerrero, Pascal Panetta, Hitoshi Tashiro
  • Publication number: 20110067619
    Abstract: A system for connecting an auxiliary craft and a mother ship includes a cable suspended from the mother ship, a cable tensioner, a mother-ship coupler that is slideably engaged to the cable, a fixture that depends from the auxiliary craft, and an auxiliary-craft coupler. The auxiliary craft is maneuvered to engage the cable. Once engaged, the cable tensioner tensions the cable, thereby maintaining the auxiliary craft in position next to the mother ship. As the cable is tensioned, the auxiliary-craft coupler axially aligns to the mother-ship coupler. After axial alignment, the mother-ship coupler is released to slide into mating engagement with the auxiliary-craft coupler. Mated couplers enable bi-directional electrical or optical communications as well as the transfer of power, fuel or other fluids from the mother ship to the auxiliary craft.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 22, 2009
    Publication date: March 24, 2011
    Applicant: LOCKHEED MARTIN CORPORATION
    Inventor: Alain T. Pellen
  • Patent number: 7906727
    Abstract: The invention described herein is directed to a bullet connector for umbilicals, and for a method of disconnecting an umbilical from a bullet connector. The bullet connector described herein comprises a tapered nose cone, a body comprising a cylindrical housing, a cylinder removeably mounted in the cylindrical housing, and a locking plate removeably fastened to the lower region of the cylinder.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 26, 2008
    Date of Patent: March 15, 2011
    Assignee: Oceaneering International, Inc.
    Inventor: Ryan Bradley
  • Patent number: 7854569
    Abstract: In various embodiments, an apparatus for use in the recovery of unmanned underwater vehicles includes a recovery vehicle configured to be coupled to a winch via a tether. The recovery vehicle includes one or more sensors for locating the unmanned underwater vehicle, a first mechanical linking device for coupling the recovery vehicle to the unmanned underwater vehicle, and a plurality of steering mechanisms for actively guiding the unmanned underwater vehicle in such a way as to allow the first mechanical linking device to capture the unmanned underwater vehicle by locking onto a second mechanical linking device of the unmanned underwater vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 11, 2008
    Date of Patent: December 21, 2010
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Navy
    Inventors: Ryan Michael Stenson, Daniel J. Braun, Lonnie A. Hamme, Christopher D. Mailey
  • Patent number: 7798086
    Abstract: An apparatus for deployment and recovery of an underwater vehicle can be introduced into a recovery tube of an underwater recovery vehicle. The apparatus has a moveable tube provided with an insertion/extraction device at one of its ends. The device is in the form of a tube or of a ring in a retracted state and in the form of a funnel in an extended state. There is also disclosed a method for deployment and a method for recovery of an underwater vehicle by way of the above-mentioned apparatus that is introduced into a recovery tube of an underwater recovery vehicle. Additionally, there is disclosed a method for docking an underwater vehicle at a recovery tube of an underwater recovery vehicle provided with the above-mentioned apparatus.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 10, 2007
    Date of Patent: September 21, 2010
    Assignee: Diehl BGT Defence GmbH & Co. KG.
    Inventor: Willi Ruggaber
  • Publication number: 20100192831
    Abstract: The invention relates to a submarine (1) of the type that includes a bridge (4), a bridge fin (3) and a device (8) for releasing and recovering a secondary self-propelled underwater vehicle (90), said device (8) including a handling means (8A) which can be used to move the secondary underwater vehicle between a storage zone (18) and a release or recovery zone (19) and a reversible grip means (14) solidly connected to the handling means (8A), which can be used to free the secondary underwater vehicle (90) at the moment of release and to attach said vehicle at the moment of recovery. The release and recovery device (8) is designed such that the release and recovery zone is located outside the turbulent zone (7) that surrounds the moving submarine.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 9, 2008
    Publication date: August 5, 2010
    Applicant: DCNS
    Inventor: Jean-Claude Fournier
  • Patent number: 7721669
    Abstract: A common payload rail externally supports a submerged payload from an unmanned marine vehicle. A vehicle interface module has a conforming surface rigidly secured to the unmanned vehicle and feed-through conduits. A functionality module is secured to the vehicle interface module and contains internal interfacing components to minimize or eliminate any modifications to the payload and vehicle. A payload interface module having feed-through conduits is secured to the functionality module and has longitudinally extending rail structures sized to engage correspondingly shaped longitudinally extending receiving means on the payload.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 13, 2007
    Date of Patent: May 25, 2010
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Navy
    Inventors: Helmut Portmann, Elan Moritz
  • Publication number: 20100050921
    Abstract: There is disclosed a system comprising a vessel floating in a body of water, a line comprising a first portion connected to the vessel and a second portion in the body of water, a tool connected to the second portion of the line, the tool in the body of water below the vessel, a stationary apparatus connected to the second portion of the line, the stationary apparatus in the body of water below the vessel, and a mechanism on the vessel connected to the first portion of the line, the mechanism adapted to keep the line taut as the vessel heaves up and down.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 11, 2007
    Publication date: March 4, 2010
    Inventors: Donald Wayne Allen, Christopher Steven West, William Andrew West
  • Publication number: 20100018449
    Abstract: An installation and methods for recovering and/or launching a surface marine vehicle or an underwater vehicle (1), in particular an AUV, from a recovery base (5). The installation comprises a floating cage (10) defining a housing (16) in which at least a portion of said vehicle (1) can penetrate, first puller means mounted on said cage and capable of pulling said vehicle into said housing, via a first flexible connection, typically a cable (22), and second puller means (7) for mounting on the recovery base (5) and capable of pulling said cage via a second flexible connection (9, 70) distinct from the first.
    Type: Application
    Filed: July 25, 2007
    Publication date: January 28, 2010
    Inventors: Marc Luccioni, Viorel Ciausu, Vincent Rigaud, Laurent Artzner
  • Patent number: 7621229
    Abstract: Systems for tethering an underwater vehicles using a low strength optical fiber tether. The tether system includes, a mechanical fuse that prevents a high load from acting on and severing the tether that is attached to the underwater vehicle, thus allowing use of far smaller cables than typically used. Upon separation of the fuse, a cable payout system pays out an optical fiber that keeps the underwater vehicle, typically a robotic craft, in communication with the surface vessel. The relatively light weight glass fiber may be reinforced and extended to lengths greater than 40 km allowing deep-sea exploration at depths up to 11,000 m.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 17, 2008
    Date of Patent: November 24, 2009
    Assignee: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
    Inventors: Andy Bowen, Louis Whitcomb, Dana R. Yoerger, Robert McCabe
  • Publication number: 20090126619
    Abstract: A submarine (1) has an assembly (3) for deploying a life raft (5), the assembly (3) being located in a well (7) formed outside the submarine's pressure hull (11). The assembly includes a pressure vessel (4) for storing the life raft (5) in a pressurized state. To deploy underwater, a lid (71) covering an opening to the well (7) is released to permit the assembly (3), which is buoyant, to ascend towards the water surface. A sensor (43) determines proximity to the water surface, whereby a pneumatic ram (42) in the pressure vessel is activated to eject the life raft (5) from the pressure vessel (4).
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 9, 2006
    Publication date: May 21, 2009
    Inventors: Michael Woolwright, Chris Murphy, James Dobbin
  • Publication number: 20090114140
    Abstract: An underwater operations support system facilitates underwater exploration, monitoring, maintenance and construction operations associated with development of natural resources. The operations support system may include energy generation subsystems, energy accumulation subsystems, communication subsystems, docking stations, repair and maintenance robots, housings for divers, and video subsystems. Supported equipment includes ROVs, HROVs, AUVs, and other autonomous and semi-autonomous mobile robots which move materials, perform manual tasks, and survey the environment. Operational efficiency is enhanced by recharging, repairing and reconfiguring vehicles, and transferring data and commands between vehicles and a control station, without moving the vehicle to and from the surface, and without need for a surface ship to remain on site for the duration of operations.
    Type: Application
    Filed: November 5, 2007
    Publication date: May 7, 2009
    Applicant: SCHLUMBERGER TECHNOLOGY CORPORATION
    Inventors: Julio C. Guerrero, Pascal Panetta, Hitoshi Tashiro
  • Publication number: 20080302292
    Abstract: An apparatus for deployment and recovery of an underwater vehicle can be introduced into a recovery tube of an underwater recovery vehicle. The apparatus has a moveable tube provided with an insertion/extraction device at one of its ends. The device is in the form of a tube or of a ring in a retracted state and in the form of a funnel in an extended state. There is also disclosed a method for deployment and a method for recovery of an underwater vehicle by way of the above-mentioned apparatus that is introduced into a recovery tube of an underwater recovery vehicle. Additionally, there is disclosed a method for docking an underwater vehicle at a recovery tube of an underwater recovery vehicle provided with the above-mentioned apparatus.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 10, 2007
    Publication date: December 11, 2008
    Applicant: DIEHL BGT DEFENCE GMBH & CO.KG
    Inventor: Willi Ruggaber
  • Patent number: 7296530
    Abstract: An unmanned system performs inspection, identification and/or neutralization of underwater objects. An unmanned vehicle that operates at a water's surface stows underwater crawling and/or swimming vehicles that can operate underneath a water's surface. A winch associated with each robotic vehicle is mounted on the unmanned vehicle. An electro-mechanical tether electrically and mechanically couples a corresponding robotic vehicle to the unmanned vehicle, and is mechanically coupled to a corresponding winch for control of the paying out and reeling in thereof.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 12, 2005
    Date of Patent: November 20, 2007
    Assignee: United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Navy
    Inventors: Charles Bernstein, John Dudinsky, Paul Moser, Daniel Kucik, Doug Freeman, David Jennings
  • Patent number: 7156042
    Abstract: A device for unwinding a wire providing data transmission of any type (instructions or accounts) between two mobile elements (1) and (7) operating in a fluid, includes one or two reels housed in a winder (2). The winder (2), capable of being dissociated from the two mobile elements (1) and (7) includes stabilizing elements for moving away the reeling point from the launching mobile element (7). The invention is applicable to wire-transmission between a submarine and a self-propelled torpedo.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 17, 2003
    Date of Patent: January 2, 2007
    Assignee: DCN
    Inventors: Rene Vire, Renaud Malaval
  • Patent number: 7113097
    Abstract: An apparatus that attaches to a moving, typically man-made, underwater object and that is capable of sending a signal is disclosed. The apparatus includes a housing, which in some embodiments is configured to look like an underwater organism. Within or on the housing is a coupling device by which the housing couples, advantageously reversibly, to the underwater object. The housing also incorporates a transmitter that generates and transmits a signal. The housing also includes an energy storage device (e.g., capacitor, battery, etc.), which is used to power the transmitter and, as required, the coupling device. The housing also incorporates a generator, which generates the energy that is stored in the energy storage device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 3, 2003
    Date of Patent: September 26, 2006
    Assignee: Lockheed Martin Corporation
    Inventors: John Wallace Kline, Frederick R. Dental
  • Patent number: 7077072
    Abstract: A charging system for an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) is disposed within a submerged docking station. The charging system includes a battery, one or more generators, and a charge controller. The battery supplies electrical power to an electrical distribution bus in the docking station. The charge controller monitors the charge state of the battery and, when needed, activates one or more of the generators to recharge the battery. The charge controller also activates one or more of the generators when a UUV is docked in the docking station for recharging of its power plant.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 8, 2004
    Date of Patent: July 18, 2006
    Assignee: Honeywell International, Inc.
    Inventors: Paul T. Wingett, Sharon K. Brault, Calvin C. Potter
  • Patent number: 7000560
    Abstract: A docking station for an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) includes a tether control system to minimize movement of the docking station when the UUV is docking therein. The docking station is a submerged station that is tethered to a floating structure via a tether line. The tether control system selectively loosens and tightens the tether line during UUV docking, to thereby minimize movement of the docking station during UUV docking operations.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 29, 2004
    Date of Patent: February 21, 2006
    Assignee: Honeywell International, Inc.
    Inventors: Paul T. Wingett, Sharon K. Brault, Calvin C. Potter
  • Patent number: 6857486
    Abstract: The method of providing in excess of 60 kilowatts of electrical power to the electrical motor of a subterranean electric drilling machine through a substantially neutrally buoyant composite umbilical containing electrical conductors to reduce the frictional drag on the neutrally buoyant umbilical. Drilling and casing subterranean monobore wells are contemplated to distances of 20 miles from a wellsite. For drilling applications, the umbilical possesses a drilling fluid conduit. The umbilical also possesses high speed data communications such as a fiber optic cable or a coaxial cable that is used in the feedback control of the downhole electric drilling motor. Such umbilicals are also useful to provide power to remotely operated vehicles for subsea well servicing applications.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 15, 2002
    Date of Patent: February 22, 2005
    Assignee: Smart Drilling and Completion, Inc.
    Inventors: James E. Chitwood, William Banning Vail, III, William G. Crossland, Damir S. Skerl, Robert L. Dekle
  • Patent number: 6840189
    Abstract: The apparatus comprises a generally cylindrical or sleeve-like or tubular housing 2 having an opening at one end which is locatable to be in sealing engagement with the outer surface of part of the hull 3 of a submarine with said housing 2 forming a water evacuable space around the propulsor unit 1 of the submarine, and access passages or ducts 4,5 for work personnel in communication with said space and extending upwardly from said housing 2 such as to, in use, to be above the surface of the water in which the submarine is floating.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 20, 2003
    Date of Patent: January 11, 2005
    Inventor: Frederick Joseph McNally
  • Patent number: 6808021
    Abstract: A system that is usable with subsea wells that extend beneath a sea floor includes a station that is located on the sea floor and an underwater vehicle. The underwater vehicle is housed in the station and is adapted to service at least one of the subsea wells.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 2, 2001
    Date of Patent: October 26, 2004
    Assignee: Schlumberger Technology Corporation
    Inventors: Thomas H. Zimmerman, John A. Kerr, Alan R. Christie
  • Publication number: 20040065247
    Abstract: The present invention relates to an unmanned underwater vehicle for tracking and homing in on submarines. The unmanned underwater vehicle comprises a propulsion unit and at least one attachment device for attaching the vehicle to the hull of a submarine. The at least one attachment device may comprise at least one movable corkscrew and/or at least one movable permanent magnet. The at least one corkscrew may be used when the submarine hull is coated with an elastomeric material. The at least one permanent magnet may be used when the submarine hull is ferrous and uncoated or thinly coated. A method for intercepting and covertly reporting the activities of a submarine using the unmanned underwater vehicle is also described.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 8, 2002
    Publication date: April 8, 2004
    Inventor: Duane M. Horton
  • Patent number: 6698376
    Abstract: A device for launching and recovering an underwater vehicle comprises a submersible assembly comprising a lower chassis and an upper chassis, which are connected by a flexible connection so that the distance between them is adjustable. The flexible connection and the lower and upper chassis form a receiving cage provided with an opening, whose vertical dimension can be adjusted. Moving the lower and upper chassis apart makes it possible to enlarge the vertical dimension of the opening. Moving the lower and upper chassis closer together makes it possible to support the underwater vehicle on the lower chassis and hold it in place using the upper chassis.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 15, 2002
    Date of Patent: March 2, 2004
    Assignee: Societe ECA
    Inventors: Xavier Franck Yann Delahousse, David Jean-Pierre Barre, Andre Honor Adolphe Meirier