For years, we’ve heard people complain, “Ugh, I wish multibeam sonars weren’t so expensive…”. Well, friends, you don’t have to complain anymore.
We’re excited to introduce the Sonoptix ECHO multibeam imaging sonar, which brings an impressive set of capabilities at a revolutionary price point that’s less than half the price of competing products! It’s a pleasure to use and elevates your ROV piloting experience to the next level.
Sonoptix is a new brand formed through a collaboration between some like-minded people who think that multibeam imaging should be more affordable and accessible. (We agreed with them, obviously). Despite the new brand name, this sonar has some serious expertise put into it and has been in development for years. We’re excited to be the first to offer it to the world!
When ordered from Blue Robotics, the Sonoptix ECHO comes with a pre-installed WetLink Penetrator and JST GH connectors, making it plug and play with the BlueROV2 and easy to integrate with other vehicles.
Why does everyone want a multibeam?
Multibeam imaging sonars, sometimes referred to as a forward-looking sonars, are a tool for navigation, inspection, and object detection. They provide unparalleled situational awareness in poor visibility conditions so you can navigate with easy, detect lost objects, and inspect underwater infrastructure. They’re one of the most common ROV accessories.
A multibeam imaging sonar provides a top-down picture of the surrounding environment and seafloor, much like our Ping360 Scanning Imaging Sonar. However, they are based on completely different sonar technologies and there are some important differences. Rather than scanning one angle at a time, a multibeam sonar is able to update the entire image at once, many times per second, giving you a much more responsive experience. While a scanning sonar can image a full 360 circle, the multibeam imaging sonar is limited to a smaller angle (120 deg for the Sonoptix ECHO).
You’ll find a multibeam imaging sonar on nearly every large inspection and work-class vehicles and on many small ROVs, especially those used for search and recovery and in poor water visibility conditions.
Beam me up, Sonoptix
The ECHO features a dual frequency design. At long ranges, it operates at 400 kHz, providing up to 100 meter range with a 90 degree sector angle. At shorter ranges of 30 meters and below, it operates at 700 kHz to provide fine resolution and detail with a wider 120 degree sector angle.
With 64 receive elements in the transducer, it has 256 beams with angular resolution of 1.5 degrees.
The high frame-rate, low latency interface provides a responsive experience that makes it easy to use when piloting the ROV.
Space age materials
The ECHO is a compact, rugged unit built from titanium and plastic with a 350 meter depth rating. The available mounting bracket and BlueROV2 Roof Rack holds it at a 5 degree angle to provide an optimal view both forward and of the seafloor.
It operates on 9-28V and consumes up to 25W of power when running. It communicates over an Ethernet interface and requires a Ethernet Switch when used on the BlueROV2.
It just works!
Our team at Blue Robotics adds a WetLink Penetrator and the right electrical connectors to the sonar to make it plug-and-play with the BlueROV2.
Once connected, the Sonoptix ECHO hosts its own web-based user interface, meaning that you don’t have to download any software and it just works on any device or computer. The live data view is provided as an RTSP video stream that can be streamed into other applications and intuitive user controls allow the adjustment of range, gain, contrast, and color palette.
There’s a guide!
Check out the BlueROV2 integration guide to learn more about how the sonar can be connected to your ROV and to learn about basic operation. If you’re still just getting your feet wet, check out our guide to types of sonar to learn about all of the available options.