Publication Detail

Design of an Inspection Class Autonomous Underwater Vehicle

Robert Damus, Justin Manley, Samuel Desset
6 pp.
MITSG 02-15J

Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) have become ever more common in ocean science, military, and industrial applications. In particular, AUVs are becoming a significant option for undersea search and survey. Bottom following, tight turning radius, stability, and elimination of tow cables make AUVs appealing in this role. Recent commercial success has proven that AUVs can be competitive survey platforms.
While AUVs that perform surveys have become more common and capable, there are few designed for close inspection tasks. These missions call for an AUV that can move slowly, on the order of 10-15 cm/sec, maneuver equally well in all three dimensions, and maintain a very stable orientation over the seafloor, usually for imaging and production of photo mosaics. The range and endurance requirements of an inspection class AUV are expected to be small compared to an AUV designed to survey large areas.
The MIT AUV Lab is actively investigating the design of a new type of underwater vehicle, known as an Inspection Class AUV, for missions such as marine archaeology and fisheries habitat studies. Two new designs have been created, both of which are radical evolutions of existing Odyssey class vehicles. One design takes the proven sub- components of the Odyssey II, namely the pressure spheres, sensors and actuators, and transfers them to an entirely new mechanical framework. The other design capitalizes on the modular nature of the Odyssey III vehicles and adds new modules that allow an Odyssey III to perform inspection tasks.
This paper discusses the details of these new designs; their anticipated performance specifications and lessons learned from deployment of conventional Odyssey vehicles for inspections tasks.

type: Technical reports

Parent Project

Project No.: 1989-AUV-01-LEV
Title: Autonomous Underwater Vehicles Laboratory - AUV Lab

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