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Isabelle Autissier using Safran’s anti-UFO system

On board ADA 2 for the “No Man’s Land Project”

Tuesday 5 January 2010Redaction SSS [Source RP]

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

The anti-UFO system (aimed at spotting unidentified floating objects) developed by Safran is entering an important phase: it has been installed for a few days now aboard ADA 2, Isabelle Autissier’s boat for her expedition to Antarctica. The system will be coming across all sizes of iceberg and Isabelle Autissier will bring back some vital pictures to enable further progress to be made with this innovative technology, which is aimed at protecting sailors from the risks of colliding with growlers.

Isabelle Autissier set off from Ushuaia on 3rd January on her fourth expedition. “During this expedition, if possible, we shall be sailing down to 69 degrees south and approaching Peter I Island. In this region of the Antarctic Peninsula, the charts are not very accurate. It means watching where we’re going, while sailing almost all of the time in amongst the icebergs.” This is the “No Man’s Land Project,” an adventure and expedition to the ends of the earth, for which Isabelle Autissier is accompanied by a crew of sailors and mountaineers: the sailors, Tristan Guyon Le Bouffy and Jacques Marty, the glaciologist-climber Patrick Wagnon and Lionel Daudet, the professional mountaineer famous for climbing some out of the ordinary peaks and Mathieu Cortial, trainee guide and member of a mountain rescue team. The crew is to sail along the west of the Antarctic Peninsula and the boat will be used as a base camp for climbing unconquered peaks until they reach Peter I Island, where the mountaineers hope to climb Lars Christensen Peak. So we are looking at a maritime and mountaineering expedition, involving more than ten weeks of sailing through ice.

ADA 2 will be fitted with a simplified version of the anti-UFO system developed by Safran and used by Marc Guillemot during the 2008 Vendée Globe. To be precise, this infra-red camera at the mast head is connected to a screen with alarms enabling small objects (2x2m) to be spotted, when their temperature is different from the water. ADA 2 will frequently be in contact with icebergs and growlers. Isabelle Autissier’s expedition will mean that these vital pictures can be obtained, “This is exactly what we were missing up until now to enable us to fine tune the product,” explained the project leader for the Group Safran monohull, Jean-Marie de la Porte. Isabelle Autissier confirmed, “We shan’t be using it for navigational purposes, but will be making regular 5-minute recordings, which will then be used by Safran. For me, this is a way to give a helping hand and enable this technology to advance, as it is aimed at improving the safety of sailors at sea.”

Looking forward to the 2012 Vendée Globe

For Safran, the goal is for the prototype to be perfected in order to be ready for the 2012-2013 Vendée Globe. Then afterwards, “Once work on this innovative safety device is complete and it can be mass produced, we shall certainly be willing to sell it to other competitors. We shan’t be reserving for ourselves a system that is capable of enhancing safety.”

Other applications are planned away from the world of ocean racing, such as search and rescue operations, the detection of floating objects (other than ice), etc. “We’ve already been contacted by teams attempting records, but also by the French lifeboat service, the SNSM,” added Jean-Marie de la Porte as examples.

“The system is one of the ways in which Safran has been contributing to the marine Marine Marine nationale sector and more generally, shows its desire to continue to innovate.” In 2010, the innovations from Safran on the monohull will deal with weight saving and clean energy solutions. More to follow…

- Info Presse Mille & une vagues /

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