City-based National Design Research Forum (NDRF) has proposed a national programme to build mini autonomous underwater vehicles (MAUVs), which can travel underwater and capture what exists underneath and relay the same to the land stations.
According to K Ramachandra, CEO, NDRF-Projects, the MAUVs, fitted with sensors and cameras, can perform a number of tasks, which include surveying and mapping the seabed, monitoring the health of the marine life and oil rigs. That apart, the MAUV can be used for surveillance purposes, Ramachandra said.
To start off with, the NDRF has proposed to develop three MAUV models. One is a MAUV with flaps, which will help it to move, the second is a vehicle that is powered by a small propeller, and the third would resemble a fish with a tail and two side fins.
“These vehicles will not be very big and will not go very deep into the ocean. They will be launched from the shore, from where they can travel about five kilometres and perform the assigned task and get back to the shore,” he said.
These vehicles will weigh about 10 kilograms and will be in the 300-400 metre category. Ramachandra said the NDRF has already organised a meeting with the Naval Research Board and a pilot study has been conducted in the Andaman and Nicobar Island.
He said that the next move will be to draw a plan for the national program on MAUV. The NDRF currently is involved in a national programme on Micro Air Vehicles (NP-MICAV) with a consortium comprising scientific institutions and the industry. It has proposed over 43 projects, of which 20 have already been sanctioned to various consortium partners.