Battlespace Preparation Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (BPAUV)
Developed and built by Bluefin Robotics (Cambridge, Massachusetts), BPAUV is a small, fast underwater robot that maps the ocean bottom near the shore, detects changes in inshore conditions, and hunts mines.
BPAUVs have a low-drag fairing with a single, articulated, ducted propeller. They can be operated from a ship or boat. They are routinely operated from oceanographic vessels without small boats, but can also be operated from a launch or even a small fishing boat. A behavior-based control architecture is used to provide flexible and powerful means of specifying mission objectives. A large and reliable library of behaviors has been established, and provides a tool kit from which missions can be constructed. BPAUVs are routinely operated as fully autonomous systems in which no communication occurs during a mission. BPAUV does not have an onboard identification or classification capability.
The BPAUV weighs 800 pounds (1,000 wet), is 122 inches long, 21 inches wide, is powered by lithium polymer batteries and has an operational speed of 3 knots. The vehicle, once launched by crane from the mine warfare vessel, is an autonomous vehicle that travels on a preset course loaded into its program. With its side scan sonar, the BPAUV is able to detect and classify mine-like contacts in advance of the ship.