Autonomous Underwater Vehicles: Trends and Transformations

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Three examples of inter-agency cooperation utilizing current generation, individual Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) are described consistent with recent recommendations of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy. The first steps in transforming individual AUVs into adaptive, networked systems are underway. To realize an affordable and deployable system, a network-class AUV must be designed with cost–size constraints not necessarily applied in developing solo AUVs. Vehicle types are suggested based on function and ocean operating regime: surface layer, interior and bottom layer. Implications for platform, navigation and control subsystems are explored and practical formulations for autonomy and intelligence are postulated for comparing performance and judging behavior. Laws and conventions governing intelligent maritime navigation are reviewed and an autonomous controller with conventional collision avoidance behavior is described. Network-class cost constraints can be achieved through economies of scale. Productivity and efficiency in AUV manufacturing will increase if constructive competition is maintained. Constructive strategies include interface and operating standards. Professional societies and industry trade groups have a leadership role to play in establishing public, open standards.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2005

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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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