What is Autonomous Underwater Vehicle

Autonomous Underwater Vehicle is an underwater robot that travels inside the water without depending on a human operator for the input. It has a non autonomous called (ROV) Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicles which is used to control or power from surface with the help of a pilot via remote control. It includes a large undersea system called as UUV (Unmanned Underwater Vehicles).

At first Autonomous Underwater Vehicle was developed by Stan Murphy and Bob Francois on 1957 at Applied Physics Lab (University of Washington). Later this was developed by Terry Ewart. A SPURV (Special Purpose Underwater Research Vehicle) is used to study about Acoustic transmission, Submarine Wakes, and Diffusion. Other Autonomous Underwater Vehicle was developed in 1970 at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Design of Autonomous Underwater Vehicle:

Autonomous Underwater Vehicle is effectively divided into 3 areas such as Commercial Offshore, Scientific, and Military Application.

Some commercially introduced autonomous underwater vehicle includes different designs like

  • A small REMUS 100 autonomous underwater vehicle,
  • A large HUGIN 1000 & 3000 autonomous underwater vehicle,
  • The Bluefin robotics 300 & 530mm vehicles and International Submarine Engineering Ltd explorer.

The most commonly followed traditional Torpedo shape in autonomous underwater vehicle is very compromising in Volume, Size, Easy Handling, and Hydrodynamic Efficiency. Some of the vehicles use modular design because it helps the operators to change the components very easily.

The next stage in autonomous underwater vehicle is a Hybrid AUV / ROV which has the ability to survey intervention tasks and it needs high ability and control.

Sensors: Autonomous Underwater Vehicle uses sensors for autonomous navigation and to feature a map of ocean. The sensors have Compass, Side Scan, Depth Sensors, Thermistors, Magnetometers, various Sonars, and Conductivity Probes.

Power: Autonomous Underwater Vehicle is equipped with rechargeable batteries such as Lithium Polymer, Lithium Ion, Nickel Metal Hydride and more. These batteries are implemented with a system called Battery Management system. Some large vehicles is powered with Aluminum based Semi Fuel Cells but this battery type needs high cost refills, and creates many waste product which must be safely handled.

Navigation: Autonomous Underwater Vehicle is navigated with the use of an Underwater Acoustic Positioning System. GPS is used for location based services and a Pressure Sensor is used to measure vertical positions.

Applications of Autonomous Underwater Vehicle:

An Autonomous Underwater Vehicle is recently evolved in many tasks such as:

  • Research,
  • Commercial, and
  • Military.

Many latest autonomous underwater vehicles are in experimental stages. A new Biomimetic vehicle is capable of reaching the high efficiency in driving and in control with a successful design. Some of the vehicles in such type are Evologics Bionik Manta and Festos Aqua Jelly.