The main objective is to design, build and test an Underwater Bottom Crawler (UBC) for long-term environmental monitoring and visual inspection in coastal areas (100m operation depth, 10km mission range, and 4 day mission duration).
An autonomous underwater vehicle for environmental surveying has been designed and constructed. The vehicle is equipped with hardware for navigation, control, data acquisition, data storage and communication. The vehicle body, energy and propulsion systems have been finalized. Design of the communications, navigation and control systems is complete. It remains to install the computer network in the vehicle and import the software for data acquisition and data flow control before commencing hydrodynamic testing.
The vehicle will exhibit the following characteristics: modularity, simultaneous ground locomotion and free swimming capability, variable buoyancy, in-vehicle positioning, control, communications, and mission management systems. Its autonomous behaviour will be tested in a number of procedures that include: following prespecified trajectories, switching between thruster control and caterpillar motion depending on the sea-bed conditions and currents, and handling of emergency situations.
A simplified design of the UBC system will be achieved by developing the following modules: i) carrier frame, with independent sections for easy repair and maintenance; ii) communications, positioning and control unit with electronic equipment for multivariable feedback control and underwater communications; iii) sensor unit, with sonar and video.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts