Martac Commercial, LLC, developer of unmanned maritime systems, along with power producer Ameren has successfully completed an unmanned hydrographic survey of the Keokuk Energy Center and Dam located on the Mississippi River, utilizing Martac’s new MANTAS USV Mobile Inspection Solution.

“The completion of this survey represents a milestone for unmanned maritime systems with results far surpassing what we expected,” commented Martac Commercial’s CEO Bruce Hanson. “We successfully navigated the Mississippi River and performed multibeam sonar scans of the dam, powerhouse, ice break and bay – all areas where either divers or manned hydrographic surveyors would have been at risk.  We are excited to offer this new capability to the maritime inspection market”.

According to a statement from the company, the MANTAS USV Mobile Inspection Solution generates  more accurate surveys of the Keokuk Dam for Ameren when compared to its past use of divers or manned survey vessels.  This is possible, it says, because the MANTAS USV Mobile Inspection Solution combines a superior unmanned platform MANTAS with Teledyne Reson’s T20 High Resolution Multibeam Echosounder to get extremely accurate views of the dam, river bed, ice break and powerhouse. 

The manoeuvrability and speed of the MANTAS unmanned system, along with the easy-to-use TASKER control system allowed users, through MANTAS, to get close to these areas and perform scans in challenging environments.  These environments contained currents as high as 12 knots along with violent changes in direction and turbulence around the powerhouse.  All of this hydrography was performed more quickly than it would take divers to perform surveys while not interfering with dam operations or forcing down time in power generation.

Scan results showed a high level of accuracy in mapping the structures.  Todd Meyer, Consulting Engineer for Ameren Missouri, said: “Ameren has found a valuable tool in our subsurface inspection plans.  The survey images and bathymetric maps allow us to view the dam and structures as if we were in the water next to them.  It also allows us to meet our reporting requirements and address our improvement projects with more accurate information.  We will continue to utilize the MANTAS USV Mobile Inspection Solution to survey and develop bathymetric maps of our subsurface assets.”

With the launch of the MANTAS USV Mobile Inspection Solution, Martac Commercial is making the solution available for purchase, lease or in a SaaS (System as a Service) model offering cost effective options for structure owners/operators to adopt this new solution in their inspection regimes.