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In this paper, we present the design and proof of concept of a streamlined, low-cost, and smooth-hulled underwater vehicle, miniature animal safe underwater vehicle (MASUV-1), utilizing an entirely enclosed propulsion and steering system. This allows for safely operating MASUV-1 in the vicinity of marine mammals, and thus, facilitates animal behavior research as well as coping with traditional engineering and scientific missions in marine mammal populated environments. The vehicle utilizes an ad hoc designed multidirectional thrust-vectoring system for steering, based on multiple servo motors and pushrods. Tests of the vehicle in a stillwater environment show high maneuverability at speeds comparable with similar torpedo-type class underwater vehicles.
Date of Publication: June 2012