Semi Autonomous Underwater Vehicle for Intervention Missions SAUVIM
Objective: The primary research objective is to develop a Semi-Autonomous Underwater Vehicle for Intervention Missions (SAUVIM). Unlike the fly-by autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV), SAUVIM will have a manipulator work package. It will require an advanced control system and a precise sensory system to maintain high accuracy in station keeping and navigation.
Background: Most intervention missions, including underwater plug/unplug, construction & repair, cable streaming, mine hunting, and munitions retrieval- require physical contact with the surroundings in the unstructured, underwater environment. Such operations always increase the level of risk and present more difficult engineering problems than fly-by and non-contact type operations. For these intervention operations, the vehicle requires a dexterous robotic manipulator; thus the overall system becomes a high degree-of-freedom (dof), multi-bodied system from the coupling effects of the high degree of accuracy even in the presence of unknown, external disturbances, i.e. undersea currents. All these issues present very complex engineering problems that have hindered the development of AUVs for intervention missions. Currently, the state-of-the-art in machine intelligence is insufficient to create a vehicle of full autonomy and reliability, especially for intervention missions.
Development: Five major components: Adaptive, Intelligent Motion Planning; Automatic Object Ranging and Dimensioning; Intelligent Coordinated Motion/Force Control; Predictive Virtual Environment; and SAUVIM Design.
SAUVIM Design (SD) This task is the main objective of the SAUVIM project for Phase 1. It is an effort to design and develop efficient, reliable hardware/software architectures of SAUVIM. Due to the immense demand of this task, it is divided into five sub-tasks, which are Reliable, Distributed Control (RDC), Mission Sensor Package (MSP), Hydrodynamic Drag Coefficient Analysis (HDCA), Mechanical Analysis and Fabrication (MAF), and Mechanical-Electrical Design (MED).