Funding Will Support Development of Kraken's Underwater Robotics Technology Program
ST. JOHN'S, NL--(Marketwired - March 21, 2017) - Kraken Sonar Inc. (Kraken) (TSX VENTURE: PNG) announced today that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Kraken Sonar Systems Inc., will receive a non-refundable financial contribution of up to $1,470,000 from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP).
In addition to technical and business advisory services provided by NRC-IRAP, the funding is being used to support the development of Kraken's underwater robotics program, which involves development of a technology demonstration platform. The first phase of the program will utilize the Fraunhofer Institute's DEDAVE Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) as the base platform. The AUV will be enhanced with hydrodynamic, control system and payload upgrades.
DEDAVE AUV equipped with Kraken’s AquaPix® MINSAS-60 Synthetic Aperture Sonar
Karl Kenny, Kraken's President and CEO, said, "We sincerely appreciate the continued support and assistance from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) to help us further penetrate the $600 million AUV market. Over the past few years, AUVs have evolved from an emerging, niche technology to a viable solution and an established part of operations in both military and commercial applications. Given the recent shift in industry focus from AUVs being platform/hardware-centric to becoming sensor/software-centric, we believe there is significant potential for further growth. By combining our advanced sensor technologies with cutting edge artificial intelligence algorithms, it's our objective to deliver a cost-effective AUV solution that is truly autonomous as opposed to being simply automated."
ABOUT THE GLOBAL AUV MARKET
The global AUV market is experiencing an advanced rate of growth due to increasing demand in military, commercial and scientific research applications. Significant growth is expected in the commercial sector, predominately from oil and gas operators -- despite the volatility of oil prices. There has also been substantial interest in the technology from the offshore renewable energy sector, as operators have begun to understand the cost saving potential of AUVs for inspection of underwater assets. Research from industry analysts Technavio forecasts that the global AUV market is expected to grow from US$600 million in 2015 to over US$2 billion by 2020.
The World AUV Market Forecast from Douglas-Westwood covers all key commercial themes relevant to companies across the value chain in all AUV sectors. The report considers the prospective demand for AUVs in the commercial, military and research sectors over the next several years. Unit demand is expected to increase over the forecast at a CAGR of 10%, with all sectors seeing growth due to increased utilisation of AUV technology. The military is expected to remain the greatest user of AUVs with demand in 2020 for over 700 units, representing 73% of total demand.
ABOUT KRAKEN'S UNDERWATER ROBOTICS TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM
The DEDAVE's current primary payload is Kraken's 6000m depth rated AquaPix® MINSAS-60 Synthetic Aperture Sonar. The MINSAS-60 will be upgraded to an AquaPix® MINSAS-120 with Real-Time embedded SAS processor (RTSAS), increasing the area coverage rate to 2 km2 per hour at 3cm x 3cm resolution. The addition of Kraken's RTSAS and SoundView® onboard geo-referencing software will enable onboard, real-time sonar data processing, image mosaicking and on-the-fly 3D seabed mapping. A new underwater laser scanner will also be integrated to provide sub-millimeter resolution and full color, georeferenced 3D point clouds.
The AUV's mechanical structure and hydrodynamic design will be optimized for the new payloads, increasing hydrodynamic efficiency and supporting unique new features. The addition of multiple tunnel thrusters will enable a hovering capability and upgrades to the vehicle's control system architecture will provide station-keeping, path-following and precision maneuvering for stationary target inspection. The AUV will also be used to test and evaluate newly developed artificial intelligence algorithms for vehicle autonomy, machine learning, non-linear missions and automated target detection.
ABOUT KRAKEN SONAR INC.
Kraken Sonar Inc. (TSX VENTURE: PNG) is a marine technology company, founded in 2012, that is dedicated to the production and sale of software-centric sensors and underwater robotic systems. For more information, please visit www.krakensonar.com.
Certain information in this news release constitutes forward-looking statements. When used in this news release, the words "may", "would", "could", "will", "intend", "plan", "anticipate", "believe", "seek", "propose", "estimate", "expect", and similar expressions, as they relate to the Company, are intended to identify forward-looking statements. In particular, this news release contains forward-looking statements with respect to, among other things, business objectives, expected growth, results of operations, performance, business projects and opportunities and financial results. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results or events to differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking statements. Such statements reflect the Company's current views with respect to future events based on certain material factors and assumptions and are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, including without limitation, changes in market, competition, governmental or regulatory developments, general economic conditions and other factors set out in the Company's public disclosure documents. Many factors could cause the Company's actual results, performance or achievements to vary from those described in this news release, including without limitation those listed above. These factors should not be construed as exhaustive. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should assumptions underlying forward-looking statements prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those described in this news release and such forward-looking statements included in, or incorporated by reference in this news release, should not be unduly relied upon. Such statements speak only as of the date of this news release. The Company does not intend, and does not assume any obligation, to update these forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements contained in this news release are expressly qualified by this cautionary statement.
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