underwater vehicles & equipment

Press Release

1 February 2016 - Plymouth, UK

MUSV Unmanned Vehicle used for Burrator Reservoir Survey

M Subs and Swathe Services from Truro recently used the prototype Multipurpose Unmanned Surface Vehicle (MUSV) to complete a high resolution multibeam sonar survey of underwater features in Burrator reservoir.  The sonar survey mapped the underwater topography of the reservoir including submerged man-made features such as Drake's Leat, the road to Sheepstor Village over Sheepstor Bridge and the buildings of Essworthy Farm.

The results of the survey will be included in the Virtual Burrator project which aims to recreate and visualise what the Meavy Valley would have looked like before it was flooded in 1890.  Leading the team of virtual reality specialists is Professor Bob Stone from the University's Department of Electronic, Electrical & Systems Engineering's Human Interface Technologies (HIT Team).  The Virtual Burrator project has been developed primarily for research to investigate new simulation-based approaches to healthcare but the technology can also be used to engage the public with the heritage of Dartmoor.

Burrator is owned by South West Water and managed by the South West Lakes Trust so permission had to be obtained from them to allow the electric powered vehicle on the reservoir.  Bob Stone said "We are so fortunate to have been allowed to conduct this survey by South West Water, as Burrator is such an important factor in the lives of Plymouth and neighbouring towns.  To be able to work with our colleagues from Swathe Services and M Subs and use this amazing technology to help us to recreate a landscape that has been lost forever is an incredible opportunity.  We really are looking forward to being the first to see what the pre-flooded valley actually looked like."

Based in a purpose built facility in Plymouth, UK, M Subs has over 20 years’ experience in the design, development, testing and operations of manned and unmanned underwater vehicles and equipment.

Swathe Services is an established south west company offering expertise in the field of Hydrographic Surveying.  The Managing Director James Williams commented ‘It was great to work with Bob and his team.  We have been trying to find the best survey solution for him for over two years and when M Subs stepped up with their prototype MUSV all the pieces finally came together and our joint team work resulted in some fantastic data’.

Photographs available.

Contact: Peter Holt,

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