Saab — yes, Saab — has built an amphibious drone meant to keep submarine crews on their toes.
The Saab AUV62 is a highly sophisticated autonomous underwater vehicle that mimics a submarine, allowing navies to train for anti-submarine warfare as realistically as possible without blowing up expensive submarines.
Though it’s an unmanned vehicle, the AUV62′s unique acoustic payload means it will show up on sonar screens as an enemy sub. It’s essentially the underwater equivalent of skeet shooting, except with torpedoes.
According to Saab, the battery-powered AUV62 can either be preprogrammed to follow a particular underwater route, using collision detection to avoid other vessels, or a remote operator can control it using either a radio or acoustic link. It can travel at speeds as fast as 20 knots, and it can descend to more than 1,640 feet below the surface. It’s possible to launch the AUV62 from the shore, from a submarine, or from a ship — as shown above.
Though several military customers have already ordered AUV62s for anti-submarine target practice, the undersea Saab has abilities other than getting blasted out of the water during training missions. Depending on how it’s configured, it can be used for minesweeping and reconnaissance. The Swedish military has already deployed the AUV62 for such purposes.
External link: http://www.wired.com/autopia/2013/06/saab-auv62/