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Technology Triumphs and Commercial Blunders

NAUTRONIX Takeover

Australia is an infertile and sparsely populated continent. This land has produced a resourceful and  innovative society. Per head of population Australia produces more ideas than most countries but has a poor record in commercial development. Perth Western Australia is the most isolated city in the world and few people would know that some of the most interesting and challenging engineering projects have been undertaken here. It has been my good fortune to be involved with nine of these projects. All projects have been technically successful. Most have enjoyed limited commercial success but few have stood the test of time. The following article discusses technology triumphs and commercial blunders. Note: Several comments have been made with the benefit of hindsight. 


Airborne and Satellite Remote Sensing

In the late 1960ís the USA launched a series of commercial remote sensing satellites. Even though the data was unreliable and radiometricaly un-calibrated the satellites produced dazzling images from simple weather pictures to spectacular geological maps. The spatial resolution varied from 10Km to 80 meters. The spectral resolution varied from monochrome to multi spectral. It was predicted that remote sensing would revolutionize the way we managed land use, fisheries, urban planning, mineral exploration and environmental monitoring. The technology proponents declared,  "We will be able to manage everything from our office computer!".

  NOAA AVHRR Image of Western Australian. False color infrared 1Km resolution.

NOAA AVHRR Satellite Receiving Station. (Specification)

In the 1970ís the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) launched a series of polar orbiting satellites with an AVHRR multi-spectral scanner. The spatial resolution was 1km with three visible, one SWIR and two Thermal spectral bands. This satellite was used to map sea surface temperatures, cloud formations, land use and geology. The Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) were conducting a thermal inertia study of the Western Australian continent. In order to penetrate the surface and expose subsurface geology multiple AVHRR thermal images were acquired at different seasons and overlaid. The images were purchased from the US and arrived six months later. It was very difficult to conduct a scientific study with a ground surveys six months after the event. Dr F R Honey headed a project to build the first NOAA AVHRR satellite receiving station in the southern hemisphere. The project was a joint venture between the CSIRO and the Western Australian Institute of Technology (WAIT). The station was constructed from a  WWII Gun mount, 6m satellite dish, microwave preamplifier built with sample transistors, borrowed equipment, a mini computer and slave student labor. As part of a final year project I was tasked with providing the image processing software. The interface between the satellite dish and the mini computer was provided by the CSIRO. The interface did not work and I was called in to fix up the mess. The station was made operational and since only one person knew how the system worked CSIRO had no choice but to offer me a research position. The NOAA AVHRR station run for many years but was not easily maintainable, as it required continuous engineering support. I embarked on a project to replace the station hardware and software with a standalone data acquisition system. Robust and affordable hardware and software was not available and the system was built from scratch. 

NOAA cyclone image of a north west Australia.

NOAA sea surface temperature image of south west Australia.

NOAA land use image of Australia's south west.

NOAA Thermal geology image of Australian's north west.

 

Landsat Satellite Imagery

The NOAA thermal inertia study identified geological features but did not have adequate spatial resolution to be a useful mineral exploration tool. Landsat satellite imagery  was investigated as a possible alternative. Landsat had a resolution of 80 meters, four visible, a single SWIR band and no thermal channel. The improved spatial resolutions made the images marginally useful but lacked the spectral resolution for mineral exploration. Future Landsat satellites improved the spatial resolution to 30 meters with improved thermal band coverage.

  Landsat image of Perth Western Australia. False color infrared, 80 meter resolution.

 

GEOSCAN MK1 Airborne Multi Spectral Scanner (Specification)

Satellite remote sensing technology of the late 1970ís had inadequate spatial and spectral resolution to be a useful mineral exploration tool. A hypothetical satellite required a resolution of less than 20 meters, four SWIR band and four thermal bands. With the current detector technology, the optical budget calculations indicate that a polar orbiting satellite would require a telescope many times larger than those currently used. The cost of launching payloads increases exponentially with size and weight. Even with a heavily subsidized remote sensing industry it was unlikely that a satellite of adequate spatial and spectral resolution would be launched in the near future. The optical budget problem can be resolved by moving the telescope closer to the ground using an imaging spectrometer built for airborne use. Part of the CSIRO's satellite imagery study was sponsored by Carr Boyd Minerals that was, headed by Bill Galbraith. Many years later I realized that Bill was one of the few people who understood the true use of technology (Technology has little to do with the advancement of humanity and more to do with providing commercial leverage). Carr Boyd was approached as a source of funding for the development of an airborne scanner and agreed to fund the project as a proof of concept. 

A defense contractor was tasked with providing the optical, mechanical and electrical systems.  I was tasked with providing the image acquisition hardware/software and the real time image display systems. Fortunately the NOAA AVHRR data acquisition system provided the basis of the scanner infrastructure. The system was completed with the addition of a low noise analog front end, hard disk controller, tape drive controller, video controller and software.   Most of the subsystems were built from scratch as they were either not commercially available or expensive.

The optical/mechanical and electronic/software systems were developed using diametrically opposed methodologies. The optical/mechanical systems were developed using a top down defense based development system that was resource heavy, rigid and expensive. The electronic/software systems were developed using a model shop prototyping system with rapid iterations requiring one engineer and a part time technician. The cost of the optical/mechanical system spiraled out of control and the electronics/software team were left with the task of rebuilding the front end, stabilization system and fixing the mechanical and optical design flaws. The GEOSCAN MK1 Scanner flew production surveys for three years at a total cost of $3M AU exceeding the initial estimated of several 100 thousand dollars. As a proof of concept system it proved its worth but was not viable as a long-term system as it required continuous engineering support.

Beechcraft Queen Air, 10 Seat passenger aircraft fitted with an aerial survey camera hole. Built in 1959 using WWII technology. We called the Queen Air the flying crowbar. When you wanted to land you pull the engine power controls back one notch and you fell out of the sky.

Queen Air cockpit with a drift sight. The MK2 Scanner crew consisted of a Pilot, Navigator and Scanner operator.

GEOSCAN MK1 Stabilization platform fitted to Queen Air camera hole.

GEOSCAN MK1 aperture. Bottom view of aircraft. Industrial lunch wrap was the most optically transparent film suitable to protect the telescope front surfaced gold mirror (i.e. 400nm to 12um).

GEOSCAN MK1 telescope and visible, SWIR and thermal spectrometers. Machined out a solid block of aluminum. The equivalent of turning down a log down to make a single toothpick. 

GEOSCAN MK1 Scanner fitted to the Queen Air seat rails (NOAA AVHRR satellite receiver Computer 120M Hard disk, tape drive, real time image display and cryogenic cooling system.

 

GEOSCAN MK1 Image Processing System

Image processing systems of the late 70ís were expensive and required a mini computer or a main frame. The GEOSCAN MK1 Scanner had an integrated image processing system. The scanner real time imaging hardware and software was ported to a mini computer in order to provide low cost multiple image processing terminals. Some mini computers provided the capability to generate custom assembler language instructions. Many of the image processing algorithms were converted to micro code which would execute in a single machine cycle. This allowed 100's of mega bytes to be processing in several hours.

  GEOSCAN MK1 Visible Image of Perth WA, 8 Meter resolution.

GEOSCAN MK1 False color infrared Image of Perth WA, 8 Meter resolution.

GEOSCAN MK1 Thermal Image of Perth WA, 8 Meter resolution.

GEOSCAN MK1 Visible Image of Leonora WA, 15 Meter resolution.

GEOSCAN MK1 Thermal Image of Leonora WA, 15M meter resolution.

 

GEOSCAN The Company

Following the successful maiden flight of the GEOSCAN MK1 Scanner Dr F. R Honey and I left the CSIRO and joined GEOSCAN which was funded by Carr Boyd Minerals. The MK1 Scanner could not be manufactured at a low enough cost to be marketed as a mineral exploration tool. The ability of the scanner to cover large tracks of land reduced the potential world market for scanners to less than five. Carr Boyd was a small company with limited resources and could not afford to operate a scanner survey as a full time operation. Most of the promising mineralized tenements were pegged by exploration companies. Carr Boyd Minerals decided to use the Scanner technology as leverage into joint ventures. Over a period of ten years GEOSCAN grew from a staff of two to twelve. The engineering and technical staff doubled to four. All staff members were specialists and the company's intellectual property resided in the heads of a few individuals.

        Laboratory spectra of preferred spectral coverage of SWIR and thermal bands.

GEOSCAN MK2 Airborne Multi Spectral Scanner (Specification)

Analysis of the MK1 Scanner data and laboratory spectra indicated that a higher spatial and spectral resolution was required to better discriminate mineral types. The development of the MK2 Scanner was undertaken to double the spatial and spectral resolution and half the size and weight of the instrument. Linear detector arrays and diffraction gratings were used to improve the signal to noise performance. Despite the problems encountered with the MK1 Scanner the same defense contractor was tasked with the development of the MK2 Scanner optical and mechanical systems. In order to minimize the technical risk the contractor was supplied with prototypes of mechanical frames, electronics and electrical systems. GEOSCAN provided the electronics, electrical systems and software. Even with the reduced scope of work the same problems occurred with the contractors production and management. The MK2 Scanner was fitted to a CESSNA 404 and flown back to Perth. The optical and mechanical design flaws were again fixed by the electronics and software team. The MK2 Scanner flew production surveys for five year in Australia, New Zealand, USA and South America.

GEOSCAN MK2 Scanner ten visible spectral bands.

GEOSCAN MK2 Scanner eight SWIR spectral bands.

  GEOSCAN MK2 Scanner six thermal spectral bands.

MK2 Scanner control electronics prototype frame.

CESSNA 404 12 seat  passenger aircraft. Fitted with a nose mounted high resolution video camera drift site. Built in 1980 using 1950's technology. We called the 404 a flying fuel tank. We could stay airborne for almost 12 hours using survey engine settings. The 404 was the best aircraft I ever piloted. It staggered off the end of the runway but was reluctant to land. 

CESSNA 404 cockpit fitted with a drift site monitor on the copilots seat. The MK2 Scanner crew consisted of a pilot/navigator and a scanner operator. The motivation for replacing the navigator and the drift sight telescope with a video camera was to maintain access to the co-pilot controls. Many hours were clocked up in the right hand seat impersonating the autopilot.

GEOSCAN MK2 Scanner stabilization platform fitted to the CESSNA 404 camera hole.

MK2 Scanner aperture viewed from underneath the CESSNA 404.

MK2 Scanner telescope supported by the stabilization platform.

MK2 Scanner spectrometer diffraction grating, lens, linear array, cryogenic cooling system and low noise amplifiers.

MK2 Scanner real time oscilloscope/Spectrum analyzer controller prototype.

Mk2 Scanner wire wrapped computer prototype

MK2 Scanner customized real time Oscilloscope/histogram and spectrum analyzer display.

MK2 Scanner Dual VME computer electronics and real time image display. The MK2 Scanner data acquisition system could also function as a standalone airborne image processing system. Operational decisions were made by an onboard geologist or customer based on the real time image display.

 

GEOSCAN MK2 Image Processing System

The GEOSCAN MK1 Image processing system required a mini computer to host the image processing hardware. The GEOSCAN MK2 Scanner had an integrated image processing system that did not require a mini computer. The MK2 Scanner real time imaging system was stripped down to provide low cost desktop image processing capabilities. It took ten years for PC technology to overtake the capabilities of the MK2 Scanner and MK2 Image processing systems. Micro processors of the late 1980's lacked the processing power to process gigabyte images in a reasonable amount of time. Floating point Digital signal processor chips had entered the market and were interfaced to MK2 Image Processing System to augment the processing power. Gigabyte Images could be warped and stitched together in under a hour. This task can be easily achieved with today's lap top computers or gaming consoles.

  GEOSCAN MK2 Scanner promotion image.

 

GEOSCAN MK3 Airborne Multi-Spectral Scanner

One of the down sides in using defense contractors, with bloated management structures and entrenched design practices, is that you rarely get what you pay for. A requirement for airborne scanners is they fit into a standard camera hole. The aviation industry is very conservative and the two aircrafts we used had camera holes that were slightly bigger than normal. The defense contractor had built both scanners to occupied every last millimeter of the oversized camera holes. This interpretation of a standard camera hole caused enormous logistical problems when deploying scanner technology around the world as the number of suitable aircraft was limited. At great expense the GEOSCAN aircraft and equipment were flown around the world in order to fill relatively small survey contracts.

After rebuilding the optical/mechanical subsystems of two scanners we were confidant that we could design and build the next generation scanner at a fraction of the cost of the previous scanners. You could reduce the size of the optics and stabilization platform to fit with a standard camera hole and improve the signal to noise performance using composite materials and new generation alloys. The advent of the desktop PC had driven down the size and price of computer hardware and software . The MK2 scanner size and power consumption was reduced with the deployment of compact hard disks and the use of sterling cycle cooling engines.

The MK1 and MK2 scanners had calibration sources whose designs were fundamentally flawed. We had achieved the spectral and spatial resolution required to make airborne remote sensing a useful exploration tool but we lacked the measurement precision required to radiometrically calibrate the images. The solution was to design a calibration source that was not integrated into the optics but was built into the camera hole hatch. This would calibrate the measurement made at the telescope aperture. The addition of a spectrometer on top of the aircraft would measure the solar illumination conditions. The images could then be calibrated in absolute reflectance or absorption. Laboratory spectral measurements could be applied directly to images in order to classify material types. The preliminary design of the MK3 Scanner was well under way when disaster struck.

 

The Demise of Carr Boyd and GEOSCAN

Carr Boyd had moderate success with its join venture programs and attracted a lot of attention via high profile publicity through the activities of GEOSCAN. Carr Boyd and its group of subsidiaries spent several years fighting off two hostile takeover bids and did not believe it would survive a third takeover. A friendly partner was sought in order to provide protection against takeovers. Ashton Mining, controlled by Malaysian Mining Corporation and allegedly a commercial arm of the Malaysian government, was offered a sizable stake in Carr Boyd on the understanding that they would not take over the company. On the handover of Carr Boyd shares Ashton commenced a hostile takeover that degenerated into a three-year legal battle, until Carr Boyd ran out of cash. Ashton sacked the remaining upper and middle management and stripped the assets of Carr Boyd and its group of companies. GEOSCAN was strangled to death with creative accounting. Ten years of world-class research and development was wiped out over night. It was my belief that one could survive purely on technical excellence alone. If you donít deal with the political issues you are doomed. For a commercially naive engineer it was a shock to be exposed to the moral bankruptcy and self-interest of corporate governance. The demise of Ashton was inevitable and in 2001 a multinational company wiped out Ashton. 

  GEOSCAN MK2 Scanner Image of Wyloo Pilbra Western Australia

 

Remote Sensing, Commercial Blunders

Remote sensing was sold as a technology that would revolutionize the way we would manage our resources. GEOSCAN competed with heavily subsidized satellite imagery. Superior spatial and spectral resolution does not guarantee commercial success when competing with a cheap and accessible product. The commercial demand for satellite remote sensed imagery is not high enough to support the satellite remote sensing industry and there is not doubt it would disappear overnight without government funding.

Measuring absolute physical quantities are an order of magnitude more difficult than measuring relative magnitude as highlighted by the activities of GEOSCAN and NAUTRONIX. For example when comparing two colors the human eye can discriminate millions of colors but can only classify less than one thousand colors when identifying single colors. Multi spectral imagery is processed using statistical methods, which is ignorant of the physics behind the acquisition of the image. Images are processed to enhance a target signature and the processing algorithms are verified with a ground survey. Most algorithms fail when there is a change in solar illumination conditions, atmospheric conditions, regional geology, vegetation types or instrument type. Pick up any mathematics book and apply any equation to a multi spectral image and you will generate a meaningless colorful picture. Most remotely sensed image users do not understand this simple fact. 

Carr Boyd could not have picked a worse continent to trial airborne imaging spectrometers. Australia is the oldest and most weathered continent in the world. There are few mineralized outcrops that are not covered up with surface litter. People fail to understand that visible and thermal imagery penetrates the surface by less than the wavelength of light (i.e. 450nm to 12 um). There is no known case of a commercially viable mineralized deposit ever been discovered exclusively using remotely sensed imagery. GEOSCAN was in the process of building a calibrated imaging spectrometer and were well on the way to achieving the spatial, spectral and radiometrically calibrated resolution required to make airborne imagery one of the MANY indispensable tools used in mineral exploration and environmental monitoring. Carr Boyd minerals was wiped out before the full potential of airborne remote sensed imagery could be realized.

Satellite and airborne remote sensing may become a useful tool when instruments are radiometrically calibrated and images are interpreted in absolute quantities instead of relative magnitudes. A possible reason why multi Spectral Airborne imaging is not a mainstream commercial tool is that its potential is being held back by statistically based satellite image processing techniques. Algorithms like spectral unmixing are the equivalent of unscrambling an egg. If remote sensing did not produce beautifully seductive images the technology may have never been oversold.

 


Hydro Acoustics

NAUTRONIX Copyright Information.
Information and images relating to NAUTRONIX, including Internet pages, documents and on-line graphics, audio and video, are protected by copyright law. Copyright of NAUTRONIX materials resides with the State of Western Australia. Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the provisions of the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced or re-used for any commercial purposes whatsoever without prior written permission from NAUTRONIX.

NAUTRONIX

Following the demise of GEOSCAN I was unemployed for almost six hours before joining NAUTRONIX. I went from breathing oxygen at 17,000 feet to riding a submarine several 100 feet below the ocean. GEOSCAN's activities involved imaging the earth's electro magnetic spectrum from 450nm to 12um and whose images were externally interpreted using relative magnitudes and statistically based algorithms. NAUTRONIX is primarily involved in measuring absolute underwater position for the offshore oil and gas industry and absolute sound pressure level for the Australian Navy. The NAUTRONIX commercial and defense engineering groups expend a lot effort measuring these two absolute quantities. Although hydro acoustics does not have a high profile like aerospace the operating environment is just as hostile and technically challenging. Airborne systems have to contend with extreme variations in temperature, pressure, noise, atmospheric solar illumination, aircraft motion and vibration. Hydro acoustic systems must deal with high ambient noise fields, multi-pathing, high pressure, low temperature, corrosive environment and high acoustic absorption. An enormous amount of computing power is expended in overcoming the effects of hydro acoustic Doppler. Propagating an electro magnetic signal through air is easy. You can use a paper clip as a transducer. Propagation an acoustic signal through the ocean is tricky!

Acoustic Tracking System Mark 2 (ATS 2)

NAUTRONIX came into existence by solving the problem of accurate shallow water navigation. Resolving accurate underwater positions, in shallow water, is difficult due to the problem of multi-pathing. NAUTRONIX developed a chirp based ultra short base line  underwater tracking system called Acoustic Tracking System (ATS). Due to the lack of affordable and low cost computers the hardware and software were developed from scratch. When commodity based PC's became available I was tasked with porting the hardware, algorithms and Graphics User Interface to Windows NT. ATS 2 has saturated the shallow water market and NAUTRONIX supplies beacons and hydrophones to its existing customers. ATS 2 is the most successful project I have worked on.

From left to right, high power beacons, ATS 2 console, hydrophone and mini beacon.

Synthetic Aperture Acoustic Profiling System (SYNAPS)

SYNAPS was developed to measure the noise signature of very quiet boats. Conventional noise measuring systems require very large and expensive beamforming hydrophone arrays. SYNAPS required the development of a precision range tracking system and analysis software. I joined the SYNAPS team during phase 4 of the project and was tasked with the electronics, firmware, fiber optics and tracking system. SYNAPS is one of the lowest cost  noise measurement systems but does not have a presence in overseas markets even though the cost/noise performance of SYNAPS is unmatched. SYNAPS is occasionally used to measure boat signatures.

(Background: The ability of a telescope to resolve a remotely sensed object is a function of the wavelength and the telescope aperture. High resolution sensing requires large telescopes. Similarly small microchips require shorter wavelength photolithography. Radio telescopes use longer wavelengths than optical telescopes and there is a practical limit to how large you can build a satellite dish. You don't need to fill the entire aperture of a telescope. For example if you place a finger across the lens of a camera you will still generate a picture but with lower brightness. Large aperture telescopes can be implemented by placing smaller telescopes around the circumference of a large circle. If the target has motion then a synthetic aperture can be generated using a single dish and measuring the target at different aspect angles. SYNAPS uses the same principals as synthetic aperture radar but measures hydro acoustic compression waves instead of electromagnetic waves.) 

SYNAPS shallow water measurement facility.

SEA1418

The SEA1418 system measures, acoustic, magnetic and electrical field signature of surface ships using up to 70 sensors. SEA1418 can be deployed as a three pod permanent installation or a two pod portable system. Ship signatures can be transmitted via  fiber optic cable RF telemetry link or logged internally. NAUTRONIX was appointed the prime contractor and an overseas company was subcontracted to provide the sensors and analysis software. I was part of the tender team, principal design engineer and tasked with the development of the acoustic positioning system. My involvement in the project diminished with time because of commitments to 11 other projects. There were expectations that this technology would be sold to other users but delays in the project delivery, primarily due to the subcontractor, compromised the technology's reputation and reduced the potential customer base.

Background SEA1418 sensor pods, Foreground Data Acquisition System.

ESCUBER

The Australian coastline is surrounded by shallow water as highlighted by the existence of Great Barrier Reef. Measuring signatures in shallow water can only be made using relatively slow boat speeds. Measuring boat signatures at high boat speeds requires deep water that is about half a days sailing from the Australian coat. ESCUBER (SYNAPS Sonobuoy Submarine Ranging, S3R) was developed as an airborne version of SYNAPS. The shallow water based SYNAPS system consisted of two large equipment racks, a 5Km underwater fiber optic cable and a hydrophone array. SYNAPS was miniaturized into three instrument cases and Sonobuoys were deployed from an aerial survey aircraft to complete the hydro acoustic measurement system. The advantage SYNAPS has over conventional Sonobuoy systems is that SYNAPS produces absolute sound pressure measurements by tracking the position the boat. We have a real time airborne image of the Sonobuoy field and the boat but the boat didn't know the exact position of the Sonobuoys. It's was like playing an airborne version of Pin The Tail On The Donkey where we would take bets on which Sonobuoy would be exterminated. A program is underway to transmit the Sonobuoy position from the aircraft to the boat and to develop a production version of the prototype. The chairman of NAUTRONIX had previously attempted to purchase GEOSCAN and I had jokingly asserted that one day I would take NAUTRONIX airborne (Same aircraft, different wavelength). My involvement with ESCUBER diminished following the successful demonstration of the ESCUBER prototype. 

ESCUBER prototype  installed in a CESSNA 404. Sonobuoy deployment tube installed in an aerial survey camera hole.

 

Hydro Acoustic Monitoring Station 1 (HA01)

Most of the NAUTRONIX projects involved some form of indirect environmental exploitation. A large proportion of GEOSCAN's activities involved environmental monitoring for conservation and government agencies. Even though the GEOSCAN mineral exploration activates were environmentally benign the final outcome involved resource extraction. The United Nations has commissioned a number of hydro acoustic stations for the purpose of monitoring nuclear explosions. One of these stations has been installed 100Km south west of Australia. It was a welcome relief to be involved in a project that has a positive benefit to the global community. NAUTRONIX was contracted to provide local support and infrastructure and I was tasked with measuring the position of the hydrophones and verifying the absolute acoustic calibration. The system monitors acoustic events that are logged, transmitted to Vienna via a satellite link and forwarded to Canbera via a landline. By measuring the time and magnitude at different stations the position and intensity of an explosion can be determined. If only one station detects the signal a bearing and relative magnitude can be determined.

HA01

 

NASNet

The NAUTRONIX Acoustic Sub sea Network (NASNet) is a deep water version of the GPS satellite navigation system. What makes NASNet different from other systems is it's a multi user system and requires a small number of stations to cover a large area. NAUTRONIX is attempting to introduce state of the art technology into the conservative offshore oil and gas industry. NASNet has been marketed as deep water positioning system that will be deployed for the lifetime of an oil field and will allow companies to position underwater structures, surface vessels, ROV's and AUV's using a common reference. NASNet is the largest project NAUTRONIX has internally funded and most of the technology was developed using experience gained in the RS925 deep water drilling product and defense systems. NASNet is ambitious and technically challenging and has performed beyond specifications in proving trials. NASNet is in the process of developing a system for customer demonstration.  Will NASNet be technically successful? As the lead engineer I would say yes. Will NASNet be commercially successful? As a commercially naive engineer I would say "It depends on whether a large enough market exists".

   NASNet Concept Graphics

NAUTRONIX Takeover

NAUTRONIX has had a GEOSCAN experience. NAUTRONIX did not survived a third take over bid and is no longer a public company. NAUTRONIX is now the private property of a Scottish Millionaire. NAUTRONIX was not purchased for it's assets or group of companies but for the commercial potential of NASNet. As with GEOSCAN, NAUTRONIX has been purchased with money was borrowed from a bank.  Instead of sending Accountants Son Frontiere the bank sent the PHD Physics Inquisition. Several days were spent assessing the viability of NASNet technology and I am pleased to report that NASNet technically sound. The board of directors have been replaced and layers of management have been installed to asses the company. Several of the NAUTRONIX assets have been disposed and  financial restrictions have been eased. It will be interesting to see what parts of NAUTRONIX will be retained once the honeymoon period has elapsed.

  NASNet Station Deployment

FUTURE PROJECTS

The 1980's were a great decade for the development of innovative systems as illustrated by the NAUTRONIX ATS2 and to a lesser extent the GEOSCAN MK2 Scanner. The 1990's were characterized by the Information Technology and Internet boom. Most IT companies have disappeared and investors have been burnt. The moneymen have a religious belief that things move in cycles and there will be a time when the risk takers will invest in innovative projects. Who can possibly predict what technical problems await to be solved.


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