Kongsberg’s electric underwater drone with 15-day range nails final test

Norwegian technology company Kongsberg has announced the successful sea trials for its large commercial autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), the HUGIN Endurance.

Kongsberg’s electric underwater drone with 15-day range nails final test

This concludes months of assessments to satisfy the drone’s factory acceptance, meaning it is now ready for customer delivery.

The drone’s sea trials were conducted in September of 2023, with the HUGIN Endurance team verifying and testing the AUV through other tests. These trials and tests concluded in March of this year.

Sea trials for the first production unit began in September 2023, and over the last months, the Kongsberg Discovery Uncrewed Platforms team has put HUGIN Endurance through its paces, verifying and refining all system capabilities. Sea trials culminated in March 2024 with a successful demonstration of the AUV capabilities to the customer. President Martin Wien Fjell is immensely proud of the great effort of the organization. 

"I am very proud of the team's hard work, and we are achieving yet another significant milestone in the history of our company. The project has been delivered in record time, and a huge thank you to everybody who has contributed to this success. This is also an excellent way to celebrate our first anniversary as Kongsberg Discovery. The customer is also pleased and genuinely impressed by the work accomplished by Kongsberg Discovery," he stated.

Fjell says that the HUGIN Endurance program has attracted significant interest both from the defence sector and commercial operators 

“Endurance can accommodate whatever kind of payload a customer wants, whether for seabed mapping or inspection, oceanography, continuous surveys of offshore wind parks, or as a surveillance tool for critical subsea infrastructure or changes in ecosystems. To achieve the first system delivery is a significant milestone, and we will continue to develop additional capabilities. HUGIN Endurance enters the market as a game-changer”, he says.

HUGIN Endurance, launched in 2021, is the largest member of Kongsberg Discovery’s HUGIN family of AUVs. The system can come equipped with a wide array of standard sensors.  This includes a wide-swath high-resolution synthetic aperture sonar (HISAS 1032 Dual RX), multibeam echo sounder (EM 2040 MkII), sub-bottom profiling system, colour camera, laser profiler, magnetometer and environmental sensors collecting data such as conductivity, temperature, sound speed, methane, and CO2 and O2 concentration.

In addition, the vehicle includes a large configurable volume that can be used to carry a mixture of batteries and custom payloads as needed.  The system is designed to allow autonomous operations directly from shore, and with a full complement of batteries, it can spend up to 15 days at sea, traveling up to 2200 km (1200 nm).

While the new AUV incorporates many of the industry-leading capabilities found in previous HUGIN vehicles, to enable long-term unsupported missions, new advancements had to be made, including greater redundancy, a new autonomous mission management system, greater situational awareness, and the ability to deal with a wide range of varying water density.