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A new autonomous underwater vehicle for imaging research

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4 Author(s)
Roman, C. ; Deep Submergence Lab., Woods Hole Oceanogr. Instn., MA, USA ; Pizarro, O. ; Eustice, R. ; Singh, H.

Currently, unmanned underwater vehicles either tend to be cumbersome and complex to run, or operationally simple, but not quite suitable platforms for deep water imaging. This paper presents an alternative design in the form of a new low cost and easier to use autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) for imaging research. The objective of the vehicle is to serve as a readily available and operationally simple tool that allows rapid testing of imaging algorithms in areas such as photomosaicking, 3D image reconstruction from a single camera, image based navigation, and multi-sensor fusion of bathymetry and optical data. These are all current topics of research within the Deep Submergence Lab at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, but that lack a devoted and specific platform to their study. Regarding the new vehicle's operational simplicity, it is intended to be small boat deployable with an operation time of ten hours. The vehicle will also have the capability for scientific work in waters of up to 2000 meters in depth. This depth restriction represents a breakpoint in vehicle cost end design complexity while still providing a large area of survey interest. Initially, the vehicle will be primarily devoted to optical imaging close to the ocean floor, but it's design will allow for future sensor integration. Therefore, key design parameters in the new vehicle are: hovering capability, passive stability, and object avoidance. An overview of the vehicle's first iteration design philosophy and key subsytems along with a preliminary dynamic model and results of hydrodynamic testing are described

Published in:

OCEANS 2000 MTS/IEEE Conference and Exhibition  (Volume:1 )

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