China has developed its first portable 50-kg autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), passing rigorous tests and signifies a breakthrough in miniature underwater vehicles.
In July, the NPU's sub-project of deep-sea submersible technology and equipment passed tests conducted by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) with full intellectual property rights, and began manufacturing it for the first time.
The 50-kg portable autonomous underwater vehicle features a combination of technical research, equipment development and industrialization promotion. During the development process, the team solved many technological problems, such as the pressure hull structure's lightweight design of composite material, hydrodynamic layout design with low resistance, low noise, high stability, the integrated open modular design in data, power supply, alarm, the depth-keeping control of self-adaptation, and steering gear control in emergencies. In addition, the team successfully developed four model underwater vehicles and passed MOST's sea tests, with 8 authorized national invention patents out of 13.
Along with the technical research, the team promoted the vehicle with help from the Tian He Defense Company, establishing a technical research team for miniature underwater vehicles and a site to produce, process and engage in limited production. Introducing specific courses in colleges and universities has accelerated the promotion and industrialization of miniature underwater vehicles in China.