Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) missions are limited in range and duration by the vehicle’s battery capacity, and sensor payloads are limited by the processing power onboard which is also restricted by the vehicle’s battery capacity. Furthermore, the power consumption of a vehicle’s acoustic system limits the possibility of substantial data transmission, requiring the AUV be retrieved to download most data. The Platform for Expanding AUV exploRation to Longer ranges (PEARL), described in this paper, aims to extend the range and endurance of AUVs while reducing data latency and operating costs. PEARL is an integrated autonomous floating servicing station that utilizes renewable energy to simultaneously provide AUV battery recharging and data uplink via new generation high-bandwidth low-Earth orbit satellite constellations. This paper details the design and testing of two potential AUV docking modules of the PEARL system. The modules are uniquely located near the ocean surface, an energetic environment that presents a particular set of challenges for AUV docking. The results will be used to inform the design of a prototype system to be tested in an ocean setting.

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