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Autonomous Underwater Vehicles for Ocean Research: Current Needs and State of the Art Technologies

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Research in the field of scientific Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) has been underway for over three decades. Much of the original work was funded by the military, and the vehicles were intended for Naval Ordnance Systems Command oceanographic needs, although the payloads were for general scientific use. Over the last decade, several autonomous underwater vehicles have been purpose built for both the science community and industrial operations around the world. Because of the variety of mission requirements, AUV configurations and options available today are numerous.

Beginning with a brief overview of the history of AUVs for science, the paper continues with discussion of the ocean applications that are suitable to AUVs. Highlighted are some points a potential user might consider when selecting an AUV for a particular science application. An overview of several AUVs available today has been included exploring the cross-section of capabilities offered. This leads into the emerging requirements for AUVs of the future. In conclusion, some insight is given on lessons learned by several members of the oceanographic AUV community and how these lessons might be applicable when considering AUVs as a solution to today's intriguing oceanographic science questions.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4031/002533204787522848

Publication date: June 1, 2004

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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