Report on Air Launched Autonomous Underwater Vehicles

Stevenson, P. (2011) Report on Air Launched Autonomous Underwater Vehicles , Southampton, UK National Oceanography Centre 80pp. (National Oceanography Centre Research and Consultancy Report, 4).


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The feasibility of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) being launched from aircraft
was funded through the NERC Oceans 2025 programme, investigating a more economical
of seeding wide swaths of ocean with sensors carrying out wide scale, synoptic physical
oceanographic surveys. Small AUVs would be parachuted down, upon hitting the water,
they would begin their AUV missions.
As well as applications for wide spatial surveys, opportunities were seen for
supplementing existing surveys such as the Atlantic Meridional Transect (AMT),
Porcupine Abyssal Plain (PAP), Meridional Overturning Circulation (MOC). The faster
response time of mobilising an aircraft compared with a ship opens possibilities for rapid
response surveys, e.g. pollution spills, and algal blooms. A unique application particularly
well suited to Air Launched AUVs (ALAUVs) is the survey of polynyas in the Polar
Regions which are uncharted and important to setting the conditions for circulation
beneath the ice shelves. Beyond environmental research and civil survey work, the
concept also has naval applications for sound velocity profiles, bio luminescence, and with
the ALAUV being much smaller and semi disposable compared with existing vehicles,
covert surveys.
Key to the overall success is creating an economical AUV that could be considered to be
semi disposable by means of small overall size, simple design with minimalist the sub
systems. With the developments of miniaturisation and lower power requirements of
subsystems and to a lesser extent, battery technologies, there exists an opportunity for
developing an AUV weighing in the region of 2.5kg but which still has a range of some
350km at 0.5ms-1. A number of small sensors in the market place used for tagging fish and
mammals and the research work at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) on
miniaturised sensors all help support the case for further development.
The conclusion is the ALAUV concept is feasible, opens new applications and new modus
operandi of working with AUVs.

Item Type: Monograph (Project Report)
Additional Information: Deposited at authors request
Organisations: Ocean Technology and Engineering
ePrint ID: 188105
Date :
Date Event
Date Deposited: 20 May 2011 09:25
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2017 02:06
Further Information:Google Scholar

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