After developing a highly-intelligent and highly-reliable AUV, it is deployed in the undersea region with the mission of surveying undersea hydrothermal vents. – During this survey mission, not only survey data containing the records of surrounding physical states near the vent spout, but the sequential data from vehicle operation are also recorded and fed back in order to improve the system architecture of r2D4 by getting rid of the expected problems for deep-sea operation. Repititions of this feedback procedure shall make r2D4 converge to the optimized system architecture for deep-sea hydrothermal vent exploration and result in the newly proposed undersea region survey system supported by the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle r2D4.
Costruction of hardware system as well as primary software system are completed in July, 2003 (Hardware Construction: Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding(MES), Co., Ltd.). The first field operation was conducted at the nothern part of Suruga bay, dated 7th July. During 15th – 17th July, the second field operation was held at the offing of Sado island, located in sea of Japan. This field work was done by the joint cooperation with underwater device department of MES. During this underwater operation, r2D4 tracked the pre-designated way points keeping the trajectory deviation sufficiently small. Due to the successfully achieved trajectory tracking control, r2D4 succeeded in taking the high-quality images of undersea geography by the side scanning sonar operation. In addition, measurement of CTDO was also carried out during this operation.
Though the main purpose of development is the survey of undersea hydrothermal vent, deployment of r2D4 is expected to enable several undersea missions such as seeking for lost articles in undersea, surveillance of undersea volcanoes, swimming animals watching, cooperative survey with undersea station and etc., because it has realized the handy system architecture with small size. And in december 2003, r2D4 is planned to be deployed in the Okinawa trough in order to survey the underwater hydrothermal vent near that region.