McPhail, Stephen, Furlong, Maaten, Huvenne, Veerle and Stevenson, Peter
Autosub6000: results of its engineering trials and first science missions.
Proceedings UUVS 2008.
In September 2007 on RRS Discovery, the Autosub6000 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV)
completed its first deep water engineering trials, and less than a year later, fitted with a multibeam
bathymetric mapping sonar, carried out its first science missions, as part of a geology and
geophysics science cruise onboard the RRS James Cook to investigate potential geo-hazards
(such as tsunami generating landslides) on the European and North African margin. In the spirit of
true AUV autonomy, while the AUV was deployed, we used the ship for seabed coring operations,
and once the AUV was recovered, the high resolution bathymetry which it had obtained guided
the next coring operations. In this paper we will describe how we are tackling the issues that
specifically affect a deep diving AUV capable of operating with true autonomy, and independently
of the mother ship: How to carry enough energy for long endurance and range? How to operate
safely and efficiently with varying buoyancy? How to maintain accurate navigation throughout
missions lasting up to several days?
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