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 04)

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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: Publication - Report (Other)
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Deposited at authors request
Date made live: 20 May 2011 09:25 +0 (UTC)

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