Summary Report: 18th International Symposium on Unmanned Untethered Submersible Technology

October 19, 2013 - via UUST

Symposium: International Symposium on Unmanned Untethered Submersible Technology (UUST 2013)
August 11, 2013 - August 14, 2013
Portsmouth NH

The 18th International Symposium on Unmanned Untethered Submersible Technology (UUST 2013) was held on 11-14 August 2013 at the Portsmouth Sheraton Harborside Hotel. For over thirty years UUST meetings have supported the development of AUV systems and technology. The first symposium was held in May 1980.

Attendance:  75
Composition:  40% academia; 53% industry and 7%government
Countries attending: 11

  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • England
  • Germany
  • Japan
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Korea
  • Russia
  • Sweden
  • United States

Unique elements:
This was the 18th event.  The Symposiums have been held approximately every 2 years:  and cover 30+ years (1st meeting in 1980)

This is a Symposium, not trade show or exhibition

The Symposium is an Education, Networking, and Community building event supported by social events at Portsmouth Yacht Club and Foster’s Downeast Clambake located in York, Maine

The Symposium was made possible, in part, by significant industry and government sponsorship: 

  • Office of Naval Research
  • IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society
  • Marine Technology Society
  • Teledyne Marine Systems
  • Teledyne RD Instruments
  • Boeing
  • Bluefin Robotics
  • Hydroid
  • Vehicle Control Technologies

Table top kiosks provided information from the AUV and sensor manufacturers that helped support the meeting. 

Over the 30 year span, there has been a progression in the symposium event focus from what is technically possible to accomplish with AUVs, to the design and control of autonomous underwater systems, to currently realized applications for science, mapping/charting, subsea mining, lost object search, military. Increasingly we are getting reports of ongoing operations and lessons learned. New trends are emerging in the areas of multiple vehicles (Planning , Control and Communications), underwater networks, and biomimetics (Copying nature’s designs).

The average age of the attendees is becoming markedly younger. Several teams of students and their advisors presented collaborated research projects. The quality of the student research has markedly improved.

The symposium began with unique “speed meeting” event, sponsored by the Marine Technology Society, Unmanned Vehicle Committee,  in which attendees rotated between tables on a computer assigned basis to introduce themselves, their affiliation and goals/interest in attending UUST.  The computer program minimized/eliminated duplicative meeting of each person.  The event served as an icebreaker and assured that attendees met individuals who could support their specific interests/goals. This event was very successful and set the highly informal and interactive tone for the entire conference. Details on the mechanics of the event can be found at

Session topics (Selected Papers)
Final Agenda available here

Systems/ New vehicles

  • Slocum G2 Gliders Expanding the Capabilities
  • Sabertooth a seafloor resident Hybrid ROV/AUV system
  • Autonomous Transient Ocean Event Monitoring (ATOEM)
  • Crabster: Underwater positioning of a multi legged Subsea Robot


  • Resolving vehicle motion in an untethered unmanned environment
  • Multi- vehicle Dynamic Pursuit with Acoustics and Coarse Correction
  • Towards Three – dimensional Underwater Mapping without Odometry
  • A Robust Framework for Failure Detection and Recovery for Terrain-Relative Navigation
  • Correlation of Sidescan Sonar Acoustic Shadows and Bathymetery for Terrain Relative Navigation

Modeling & Simulation

  • A Multi-Armed Bandit Formulation with Switching Costs for Autonomous Adaptive Acoustic Relay Positioning;
  • Thrust generation and propulsive efficiency in 'ground effect' for heaving and pitching high aspect ratio foils
  • Game Engine-Based Simulator for Autonomous Underwater Vehicles


  • Bio-inspired flow sensing and control for autonomous underwater navigation using distributed pressure measurements
  • How to Maximize Pectoral Fin Efficiency by Control of Flapping Frequency and Amplitude;
  • A Comprehensive Comparative Analysis of Biomimetic MPF-type UUVs
  • Power and Thrust Comparison of Biomimetic Pectoral Fins with Traditional Propeller-based Thrusters


  • AquaPix - A Low-Cost Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Sonar for AUVs: Sea Trials and Results,
  • High-resolution Acoustic Camera on CR200 and Post-Processing
  • Limit Cycling in Control of Underwater Vehicles Caused by Lossy Quantized Communication Channels
  • Using Time of Flight Distance Calculations for Tagged Shark Localization with an AUV
  • Collision Avoidance Passive Sonar


  • Run-Time Ethics Checking for Autonomous Unmanned Vehicles: A Practical Approach
  • Toward High-coverage Imaging of Hydrothermal Vent Fields: A Recursive Path-planning Method of an AUV
  • Development of Centralized Control System for AUV Group Operation,
  • Assessing Automated and Human Path Planning for the Slocum Glider
  • Distributed, Context-Based Organization and Reorganization of Multi-AUV Systems


  • A Robust Framework for Failure Detection and Recovery for Terrain-Relative Navigation
  • Stability Criterion for a Wall-Following AUV
  • Integrated Control System for Autonomous Search Capability


  • Ocean Observing in the 4th Dimension – Autonomous Glider Surveys of the Gulf of Mexico
  • Modular Low Logistics AUVs in Commercial Survey Applications
  • Seafloor Mapping and Imaging Efforts Using Autonomous Underwater Vehicles

In Summary

This biennial meeting has seen a number of changes over the years.  Initially, the “Grand Challenge” was established as being the need to build vehicle systems; was it possible to implement a system that would accomplish defined tasks.  The emphasis was really on developing the subsystems necessary to bring an AUV into existence.  Many efforts focused on issues such as energy, navigation, communications, sensors and sensor processing, and the autonomy required to accomplish a defined task reliably.  Hydrodynamics and control, modeling and simulation and a number of other issues paced the development of capable AUV systems Although there were continuing exacmples, a clear shift in emphasis was apparent.  Now technology development is being driven by application need.  This is a sign of normal evolution in systems design.  The not so subtle shift from users applying existing systems in their programs to future user applications establishing the goal of new technology development was very clear. 

Currently users can choose from a number of available systems and purchase these systems from one of a number of manufacturers.  Manufacturers have a number of configurations available.  Many of those configurations having been evaluated in operations around the world.  A new paradigm is in place and was clearly see at this meeting.  AUVs are now considered as a class of tools available to the ocean community.  They are reliable and ready for diverse applications.  It is also clear that the successes of the current AUV systems are now driving current and future users to request new systems with more advanced capabilities.  Those needs will force the technical community to develop new and innovative subsystems to address these user requests.  There is much yet to be accomplished but this meeting underscored that we have come a long way in the development and application of AUV systems. website
 AUVAC wants to expand its online presence to better serve the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Community.  We have worked hard at collecting and centralizing International AUV market and technical information and making it available through our online portal.

Here’s what we are envisioning:
• Even more expansive technical specifications pages
• Online video streams available on-demand
• Tutorials/presentations that enable community members to disseminate their research and/or new products
• Sponsored discussions/webinars that focus on industry specific interests and goals
• A newsletter focused on quarterly projects distributed directly to all those registered with the AUVAC site
•Interactive blog space for community engagement
• The possible development of an online mobile application
• And so much more…

What We Need:
We need sponsors from within the AUV Community that are interested in helping us grow. We are currently the most comprehensive AUV technology website, but we must continue to work on providing a more robust portal that enables us to better serve the AUV community.

Expected Results
• A digital network that allows professionals across a myriad of industries to connect and engage about business, best practices and industry advancement.
• A tool that allows those within the AUV Community to converse in a fashion that is relevant to their exact needs.
• Provide a forum for quality conversation focused on subjects we all have vested interest in.
• Provide resources that support education and training of young professionals in this expanding area of technology and applications.

We are already operating a valuable online resource for the AUV Community.
• AUVAC offers well-organized and readily searchable content, making it an excellent reference for anyone seeking information on a broad range of Autonomous Underwater Vehicle related topics
• AUVAC is the only online source devoted exclusively to Autonomous Underwater Vehicles – Keeping the community informed through daily delivery of the latest news, views, and developments at no cost to readers
• AUVAC delivers an information rich resource designed for AUV professionals, vehicle developers, current and future vehicle users, technology providers, students and members of the general public
• AUVAC engages industry by offering a powerful open platform that allows industry professionals to engage directly with the market by sharing information related to company and product developments


Sponsoring AUVAC provides tremendous business-to-business brand visibility.  Traffic to the site has increased by 92% over the last year.  Nearly 40,000 people looked to AUVAC for industry related worldwide news and information. We encourage you to leverage the unrivaled value of AUVAC and contribute to the success of your business and our community! The AUVAC website is an international platform for advertising to a targeted audience. Please contact Dick Blidberg ( Cell: 603-674-8057, to discuss sponsorship options and help AUVAC grow.

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Author:Richard Blidberg

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