Unmanned Surface Vehicle Facility


Tech Specs



Welcome to the  Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) Facility at NC State University.  The facility is operated as part of the Center for Marine Sciences and Technology (CMAST). The vessel is a 2.5 m catamaran equipped with cutting edge instrumentation to map the seabed and water column.  It is designed for autonomous and remote operations within estuarine environments,  fresh water lakes and rivers.

Acquisition of the USV was supported by an award from the National Science Foundation's Improvements in Facilities, Communications, and Equipment at Biological Field Stations and Marine Laboratories  (FSML) program: Acquisition of Unmanned Surface Vehicle for High-Resolution Mapping of the Shallow Seabed and Water Column (NSF DBI-1522489). PIs: DB Eggleston, DR Bohnenstiehl, JA Buckel, C Osburn.

Facility Contact:

D. Bohnenstiehl

Associate Professor

Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences



D. Eggleston

Director Center of Marine Sciences and Technology


Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

 USV Overview


         The CMAST USV is a small catamaran designed for shallow water surveys, including in coastal, harbor, riverine, and surf zones. The vessel, built by SeaRobotics Corp,  is  2.5 (length) x 1.5 (width) m and has a weight of 72.1kg/159 lbs. Propulsion and differential steering are provided by two fixed electric thrusters powered by two 1088 Whr 25.9 VDC battery packs.  The speed is 6 to 8 knotts, with a longevity of ~7 hours.  The system is controlled via the Operator Interface System and can be operated by remote manual control, joystick, auto heading, station keeping, and way-point navigation.   Science mission payloads include seabed and water-column mapping capabilities, as well as other user supplied sensors, with an approximate payload capacity of 35 kg/ 77 lbs.


Navigation and Positioning


     Hemesphere V320 vector GPS with A325 RTK-base

     SBG Ekinox INS


Primary Science Instrumentation


Seabed Mapping

    Edgetech 6205 swath bathymetric (540 kHz) and dual-frequency(540/1600 kHz) side-scanning

    sonar with integrated 4-24 kHz sub-bottom profiler

    AML Micro X sound velocity sensor


Water Column Mapping

     Rowe Sea-profiler Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler

     RBR Concerto with Conductivity, Depth, Temperature, Chlorophyll-a, CDOM sensors



Data Acquisition System





  The USV facility also would like to acknowledge the assistance of  Echo81 and SubSea Technologies


Follow the image links below to see results from some of our recent USV surveys

All geophysical and hydrographic data collected as part of this facility are archived within the National Center for Environmental Information (NCEI). An in-house data access system is being developed to support the USV.  Please contact the facility if you have questions about data availability.