As opposed to ROVs (Remotely Operated Vehicles), self-propelled, unmanned autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) are becoming increasingly important since, unlike ROVs they can operate completely self-sufficiently, i.e. independent of the carrier platform and cable at practically any depth and for long periods of time, require only minor technical and logistic support and can be used in regions which are inaccessible to manned submersibles or ROVs (e.g. under ice regions). In other words, AUVs are distinguished by a wide range of applications, the extremely high quality of data collected, their very cost-effective operation and the large standoff capability to the carrier platform, the latter bringing about a distinct improvement in terms of carrier platform safety e.g. for military missions. Due to these advantages over conventional systems, AUVs can be employed for a whole variety of applications, such as the following in the commercial sector: • Sea Bed Mapping, • Pipeline and Route Survey, • Inspection/Control, • Site Clearance, • Debris Survey, • Science – Search – Environment – Geology, • Harbour and ship’s hull inspection. Moreover AUVs will play an important role in the military scenario like mine countermeasure as well. Obviously, one single type of AUV will be unable to cover this entire spectrum if — above and beyond the aforementioned applications — one considers the different operating depths ranging from coastal regions (about 10 m) to deep water (approx. 4000 m) and the various possible carrier platforms (helicopters, ships, submarines, shore stations). On the other hand, the development and use of one specific type of AUV for one or a very limited number of mission types would be very expensive, both in terms of costs involved and necessary logistics, and would hardly be acceptable on the market. The solution to this problem is the “modularity” of the AUV subsystems as well as a family concept for the vehicle design. To implement this strategy, ATLAS ELEKTRONIK has forced the development and marketing of an AUV family for a wide array of missions. The family starts with the SeaFox-IQ, a very small and lightweight (40 kg) AUV for 300 m diving depth, based on the extreme successful mine disposal ROV SeaFox. The big brother is the SeaStout, a 100 kg AUV, designed for 300 m too. The SeaOtter Mk1 and SeaOtter Mk2 AUVs are 1500 kg and 1100 kg vehicles for 600 m operations. The leading edge is the AUV DeepC, a 2500 kg experimental vehicle developed for 4000 m depth and up to 60 h endurance. The ATLAS AUV family offer a lot of hard- and software commonality to ensure that serviceability is maintained, while having a high degree of “customisation” in key areas like payload sensor selection ensuring they will meet customer needs.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.