A fleet of autonomous underwater vehicles to locate flight 447
At 29th International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Artic Engineering OMAE 2010, China.
06 - 11 Jun 2010.
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The recent accident of Flight 447 in the mid-Atlantic serves as backdrop to this document. An introduction is made to the field of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) and the present limitations therein. The actual search failed to locate the "black-box" recorder beacons. Some background is given to explain the reasons for this failure.
A proposal results for developments to 2012 in this field to improve the location and recovery of the emergency beacons. A contemporary survey-class AUV would require to exhaustively search the one degree squared search area more than one year, whereas a black box is capable of audio emissions for only 30 days. The number of AUVs necessary to ensure the search succeeds is 16, with five days preparatory allowance. Some significant logistical hurdles such as shipment to the search area are addressed. A solution for the problem of battery recharge, which hinders the contemporary search, is proposed.
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