This page is meant to be a storehouse for publications that reflect activities of interest to AUVAC and its members. If you have publications that should be added to this list please let us know and we will include them.

Transport of Lithium Batteries in Accordance with the ICAO Technical Instructions

January 1, 2015 via – International Air Transport Association


This guide is designed to outline potential strategies airlines may wish to consider to reduce the risks associated with the transport of lithium batteries. These strategies address the carriage of lithium batteries as cargo on passenger and cargo aircraft as well as in passenger and crew checked and carry-on baggage. The strategies are primarily directed at an airline’s internal processes and procedures, although there are strategies for engaging with other entities in the supply chain, such as manufacturers of lithium batteries as well as shippers and freight forwarders.

It should be noted that IATA has developed comprehensive guidance information for shippers, freight forwarders, ground handlers, airlines and passengers which may be found on the following web page:


Effective 1 January—31 December 2015



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Deep-Sea Explorers Angle to Solve Mystery of Missing Malaysian Airliner

August 1, 2014 via – Wall Street Jornal

Now, two months after pausing its search, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau is ready to reboot the massive probe. It is poised to select among bids from the world’s most-advanced deepwater specialists, including offshore oil-and-gas companies, maritime research institutions and treasure hunters eager to use their technologies and experience to solve the Flight 370 riddle—and potentially raise their own profiles in the process.

The ATSB is expected to choose one or more of the bidders over the next several weeks before relaunching the search with $56 million in funding in late August. Those costs will be split, in amounts still to be determined, between the Australian and Malaysian governments.

The good news is that the world’s deep-sea recovery industry is now more sophisticated than ever, thanks to offshore research by oil-and-gas firms that have gone progressively deeper, as well as militaries and insurance firms. Technologies developed to hunt for everything from the Titanic to lost parts of the Space Shuttle Challenger have
further expanded frontiers, allowing investigators to work as deep as about 3.7 miles, or slightly more
than the deepest-known area of the Flight 370 search zone.

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DARPA Blue Wolf Program

July 9, 2014 via – DARPA TTO

The Blue Wolf program will develop and demonstrate an integrated underwater vehicle capable of operating at speed-range combinations previously unachievable in fixed-size platforms, while retaining traditional volume and weight fractions for payloads and electronics.

The Blue Wolf program will focus on rapid testing and maturation of novel energy, hydrodynamic lift, and drag reduction technologies, which will be developed and tested at-sea to confirm maturity and performance. Blue Wolf will modify existing hardware and systems to establish the vehicle baseline (a “reference vehicle”), and will seek technical solutions to achieve the program metrics specified in the classified addendum.

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All About Batteries

December 4, 2013 via – EE Times

There are lots of factors to consider when choosing the battery technology for a particular application. In addition to relative size, weight, and cost (from cheap to expensive to “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it”), the main considerations and factors I plan on covering in this series are as follows:

Environment (operating and storage): Temperature, air pressure, altitude, mechanical strain, vibration, mounting position, radiation hardening, corrosive attack, packaging/shape, storage or shelf life, disposal, waste products produced and outgassing, consumables required, safety, and materials/RoHS

Application: Types (including primary, secondary, and smart), technology, chemistries, efficiency and loss, charge/discharge cycle count and rates, depth of discharge, service life, memory effect, charging techniques, capacitor/battery hybrid, use cases, capacity, density (energy and weight), protection circuitry, measuring and gas gauge, quality, reliability, and recharge and run times

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Hovering Type AUV “Tuna-Sand” and Its Surveys on Smith Caldera in Izu-Ogasawara Ocean Area

September 25, 2013 via –

Abstract—During the operation of and AUV in the ocean, it is necessary to monitor the vehicles position and the status in real time to prevent accidents that may occur abrupt changes in oceanic condition. Therefore a support ship should follow and monitor the AUV during survey. The ship operation costs are high and it is inefficient use if only one AUV dives during a survey. We developed a new survey method for multiple AUVs to make effective use of ship time. In our survey method, two cruising AUVs (AE2000a and AE2000f) pass through approximately the same route and observe the seafloor at a high altitude. One hovering type AUV (Tuna-Sand) navigates and takes pictures of seafloor at a low altitude. The ship follows the two cruising AUVs and sends the command by acoustic communication as necessary. Then an SSBL device on a moored buoy localizes Tuna-Sand and sends vehicle’s position and status
to the ship by satellite communications. To avoid sound wave interference, sufficient time gap is added between signal
transmissions and the GPS time is used for synchronization. The Tuna-Sand AUV observed on Smith caldera in Izu-Ogasawara ocean area in two dives using our survey method. In first dive, the vehicle surveyed for about 2 hours and took 170 pictures of the seafloor. In second dive, we succeeded that AE2000a, AE2000f and Tuna-Sand dived and surveyed on the caldera at same time. The results obtained during the survey are described in detail in this paper.

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DARPA BAA 13-39 (Hydra)

August 22, 2013 via – DARPA

The Hydra program will develop and demonstrate an unmanned undersea system, providing a novel delivery mechanism for insertion of unmanned air and underwater vehicles into operational environments. Situated underwater, Hydra will use modular payloads within a standardized enclosure to enable scalable, cost-effective deployment of rapid response assets and will integrate existing and emerging technologies in new ways to create an alternate means of delivering a variety of payloads close to the point of use. The Hydra program seeks to develop
and demonstrate initial examples of air and undersea payloads while leaving open the potential for accommodating additional payloads in the future.

The rising number of ungoverned states, piracy, and proliferation of sophisticated defenses severely stretches current resources and impacts the nation’s ability to conduct special operations and contingency missions. The Hydra program represents a cost effective way to add undersea capacity that can be tailored to support each mission. Hydra’s communications suite could allow synergistic function with manned platforms, thus increasing their effectiveness, or
could allow remote control from over-the-horizon. Technologies are intended to be adaptable to multiple delivery options, including airborne, surface, and subsurface. The Hydra program will enable other new capabilities not currently performed from undersea.

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Tiny Submersible Could Search for Life in Europa’s Ocean

June 10, 2013 via – Astrobiology Magazine

One of the first visitors to Jupiter’s icy moon of Europa could be a tiny submarine barely larger than two soda cans. The small craft might help strike the right balance between cost and capability for a robotic mission to look for alien life in the ocean beneath Europa’s icy crust.

The idea for the incredible shrinking submarine originally came from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California and Uppsala University in Sweden. Such a vehicle would help keep mission costs low at a time when launching objects into space can still cost tens of thousands of dollars per kilogram. The mission concept also would have the advantage of only requiring a small borehole drilled through the ice covering Europa’s surface.

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Integrated Synoptic Surveys Using an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle and Manned Boats

May 14, 2013 via – US Geological Survey

Traditional surface-water surveys are being combined with autonomous technology to produce integrated surveys of bathymetry, water quality, and velocity in inland lakes and reservoirs. This new technology provides valuable, high-resolution, integrated data that allow a systems-based approach to understanding common environmental problems. This fact sheet presents several example applications of integrated surveys within inland lakes and coastal Lake Michigan and Lake Erie.



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Law and Ethics for Autonomous Weapon Systems Why a Ban Won’t Work and How the Laws of War Can

April 9, 2013 via – Hoover Institue

Public debate is heating up over the future development of autonomous weapon systems.1 Some concerned critics portray that future, often invoking science-fiction imagery, as a plain choice between a world in which those systems are banned outright and a world of legal void and ethical collapse on the battlefield.2 Yet an outright ban on autonomous weapon systems, even if it could be made effective, trades whatever risks autonomous weapon systems might pose in war for the real, if less visible, risk of failing to develop forms of automation that might make the use of force more precise and less harmful for civilians caught near it. Grounded in a more realistic assessment of technology—acknowledging what is known and what is yet unknown—as well as the interests of the many international and domestic actors involved, this paper outlines a practical alternative: the gradual evolution of codes of conduct based on traditional legal and ethical principles governing weapons and warfare.

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Autonomy Research Pilot Initiative (ARPI)

November 30, 2012 via – US Department of Defense

The Autonomy Research Pilot Initiative (ARPI) seeks to promote the development of innovative, cross-cutting science and technology for autonomous systems able to meet future DOD system and mission requirements. The focus is on those projects with the potential to radically advance capabilities 5, 10 or more years in the future in important warfare areas. Envisioned technology will allow military systems to complete complex military missions in dynamic environments with the right balance of warfighter involvement. The ARPI is a pilot test of an OSD-sponsored
innovation program, directed by ASD (R&E), and executed by the Services, with support from the DOD Priority Steering Council (PSC) for Autonomy.

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360°: A Glider Testbed That Rolls Over

July 3, 2012 via – VaCAS

When VaCAS researchers were unable to find an underwater glider that could test their different designs and control algorithms, they decided to build one. Now working on their second version of the testbed, the researchers, led by aerospace and ocean engineering faculty members Craig Woolsey and Leigh McCue, are developing an underwater glider that is very different from its peers.

The Virginia Tech testbed glider shares the general design elements and capabilities of other underwater gliders; however, it has a creative buoyancy actuation system and it can roll over. With this rollover capability, researchers can test more efficient turning schemes and control algorithms.

Most underwater gliders use symmetric airfoils to achieve high efficiency whether sinking or rising. The ability to roll over means that this glider does not need symmetric airfoils, and can therefore use more efficient, curved (“cambered”) airfoils — like the ones used for gliders in the air.

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Plotting a Better Path

July 3, 2012 via – VaCAS

What is the easiest way to determine what is on the ocean floor? How quickly can robot explorers tell the difference between a sand ripple, hidden treasure, or even a possible danger? ECE associate professor Dan Stilwell’s team in the Autonomous Systems and Controls Laboratory (ASCL) is developing answers to these questions.

With a new three-year grant fromthe Office of Naval Research, they are working on the algorithms to deploy autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) and sensing technology in the most efficient manner. “If we have assets that can characterize the environment, how would we deploy those assets?” Stilwell asks.

Mapping everything, he says, takes a long time and uses more power and resources than necessary, so his team wishes to efficiently search for underwater objects with a given probability that every object of interest has been identified.

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Silicon Swimmers

July 3, 2012 via – VaCAS

Taking advantage of thousands of years of evolution, researchers are working to perfect new underwater robots modeled after fish. Michael Philen, assistant professor of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering, assembled a research team that spans disciplines and universities to study the behavior and physiology of fish. With a $1.9 million grant from the National Science Foundation, the artificial fish they are developing could lead to underwater robots that can move far more efficiently than current propeller technology.

Fish can swim with a hydrodynamic efficiency of up to 90 percent, while modern propeller technology can be much less than this, according to Philen. Fish sense their environment and take advantage of this data to precisely adjust their complex muscular system and fins for maximum efficiency. Philen explains that “the hair-like neuromasts along a fish’s body allows a fish to sense the smallest changes in the fluid. This allows a fish to adjust its swimming to the water conditions and perform complicated maneuvers, such as schooling and escape.”

In order to replicate nature, such a sophisticated robotic fish requires novel sensors, actuators, materials, and control algorithms. “We want to use what we’ve learned from fish to develop artificial muscles and sensors for distributed sensing and actuation,” says Philen. The sensors will supply the robot with the data it needs, and the artificial muscles will allow it to act on this data.

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Magnetic anomaly mapping using an underwater glider equipped with a Mag648 low power fluxgate sensor

May 25, 2012 via – Bartington Instruments

This case study examines how a low power, low noise Bartington Instruments Mag648MXL magnetic field sensor may be installed on an underwater glider for the purpose of magnetic anomaly measurements.

Magnetic anomalies are defined as the deviation of the magnetic field from the Earth reference field at that location. These measurements can be visualised in a similar way to the topographic map of a terrain. Magnetic anomaly maps may be used to assist the navigation of unmanned vehicles during periods when the sea is frozen, extending their available usage time beyond the summer months.

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Unmanned Vehicle University Information Package

May 15, 2012 via – Unmanned Vehicle University

Unmanned Vehicle University is the first University in the World dedicated to higher education in Unmanned Air, Ground and Sea Systems. The school offers technical training in Unmanned systems though 3 day short courses. Graduate degrees in Unmanned Systems Engineering are also offered with a totally online curriculum.

An unmanned system is not just a vehicle. It is composed of the vehicle, communications, data links and control stations. Degree programs at UVU take a systems engineering approach. Graduates will enter the unmanned career field in the areas of R&D, vehicle design, sensor development, vehicle communications and data links, sense and avoid systems, human machine interfaces, autonomous control, vehicle navigation, alternative power and operations.

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TRITON — Multisensory Based Underwater Intervention through Cooperative Marine Robots

March 1, 2012 via – University of the Balearic Islands, Systems, Robotics and Vision Group

The TRITON research project pursues the use of autonomous vehicles in the accomplishment of complex underwater intervention tasks. The project will emphasize the operation of multiple vehicles (an AUV and an I-AUV) cooperating in a coordinate manner during the execution of a mission, as well as in increasing the dexterity of a robotic arm (currently under development in the context of the RAUVI project), that will be installed in the I-AUV.

National project, 2012–2014, in progress

Global Objectives

The TRITON project proposes two scenarios as a proof of concept to demonstrate the developed capabilities: (1) the search and recovery of an object of interest (e.g. a black box) and (2) the intervention of an underwater panel in a permanent observatory.

The first mission scenario will be divided in several sub-tasks. First, the mission will begin with the deployment of the AUV and the intervention I-AUV, which should then adopt and maintain a safe formation that enables acoustic communication and absolute positioning of both vehicles. Then, a sonar survey will be carried out by the AUV to detect the signal emitted by a pinger in the black box. The detection of such signal will be followed by a second survey, whose objective is to create a photomosaic of the area, making possible to visually identify the object. Finally, the AUV will be sent back to perform the intervention task to recover the object.

The second mission scenario will also begin with the deployment and formation of both marine robots in order to establish communications and absolute positioning. Then, the AUV will use acoustics to interrogate a transponder mounted in the observatory with the objective to guide the vehicle transit to the panel. When visual contact with the objective is established, the AUV will approach the panel using visual servoing. The final part of the docking operation will involve a mechanism to rigidly attach the vehicle to the panel. After this, the manipulation will take place. Two demonstrative applications are foreseen: Opening/closing a valve, and connecting/disconnecting a cable.

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The Robot Fish That Led to Better Dam Designs

February 15, 2012 via – Popular Mechanics

Tom Carlson starting building robotic fish 20 years ago to figure out how salmon were being harmed and killed as they swam through dams. Today that research is helping companies design hydropower turbines that not only generate electricity more efficiently, but also allow more wildlife to pass through unscathed.

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MBARI Researchers Announce Expedition in Gulf of California

February 6, 2012 via – MBARI

Following up on tantalizing discoveries made during a 2003 trip to the gulf, MBARI researchers will be returning to the little-explored region in February 2012 for a three-month expedition. Web visitors can read the scientists’ daily research updates and follow their progress on the expedition homepage.

Serving as a “scout” for the Western Flyer is a second MBARI research vessel, the Zephyr. For this expedition, Zephyr will carry an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) that uses sound to create detailed maps of the seafloor. These maps will help the ROV pilots find their way around the ocean bottom and will give scientists some ideas of particularly interesting places to investigate.

During spring 2012, MBARI researchers are making a long-awaited return to the Gulf of California, the 1,130-kilometer-long (700-mile-long) finger of water that separates the peninsula of Baja California from mainland Mexico. The expedition, which runs from February 4 to May 10, will build on many of the exciting discoveries made during MBARI’s first trip to the gulf in 2003.

The Gulf of California holds special scientific appeal because of its nutrient-rich surface waters filled with life, its extensive layer of oxygen-poor water, and the many hydrothermal vents, undersea volcanoes, and zig-zag faults that have shaped its seafloor. In addition to studying these diverse physical environments and the fascinating creatures that inhabit them, MBARI’s scientists hope to compare life in the gulf to life in the extensively studied ecosystems of Monterey Bay. In particular, the warm, low-oxygen waters of the gulf may offer a window into the future of Monterey Bay under some climate change scenarios.

Research Plans
Like a scientific relay, this 12-week expedition is divided into several legs, each led by a different scientist with a different research focus. Some scientists are measuring ocean currents, while others are studying the diverse animals that swim and drift in the gulf’s clear water. Still others are investigating the chemistry of the seawater and the active geologic features on the gulf’s seafloor.

In early February, two of MBARI’s research vessels, the R/V Western Flyer and the R/V Zephyr, depart for the gulf. Scientists on the Western Flyer will begin conducting research during their trip south. The Zephyr will travel ahead of the Western Flyer, carrying an autonomous underwater vehicle to map the seafloor of the gulf. Scientists aboard the Western Flyer will use the resulting maps to plan deep-sea dives using the remotely operated vehicle Doc Ricketts. MBARI’s robotic vehicles offer unique access to the deep regions of the gulf, many of which are unexplored.

Throughout the expedition, scientists will post daily cruise logs, sharing their observations and discoveries with the public. Follow the links at the right to read their descriptions of research and life aboard ship. Web visitors can also learn about the individual researchers, their equipment, and the scientific goals for each leg of this historic cruise.


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NOAA’s Top 7 US Ocean Data Services By Region

February 2, 2012 via – gCaptain

The U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System, or IOOS®, is a vast, coordinated network of people and technology working together to deliver data on our coastal waters and oceans. Sponsored by NOAA, this system is a collaboration of the data and work of partners from federal, regional, private sector, and academic organizations.IOOS partners collect coastal and marine data — water temperature, water level, currents, winds, waves, and more — using satellites, buoys, tide gauges, radar stations, underwater vehicles, and a bunch of other high-tech tools. This ocean data is then turned into information that people can use, often in the form of forecasts and products designed to track, predict, manage, adapt, and respond to changes in our marine environment. Here’s what’s new on IOOS websites representing regions around the nation:

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Development of positive electrode materials for low-cost and high-performance lithium-ion secondary batteries

January 13, 2012 via –

Mitsuharu Tabuchi (Senior Researcher), Ionics Research Group, the Research Institute for Ubiquitous Energy Devices (Director: Tetsuhiko Kobayashi) of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST; President: Tamotsu Nomakuchi), has developed two types of new oxide material (namely, Li1+x(Fe0.3Mn0.7)1-xO2 and Li1+x(Fe0.3Mn0.5Ti0.2)1-xO2) for the positive electrode of lithium-ion secondary batteries in collaboration with Junji Akimoto (Leader), Crystal and Materials Processes Group, the Advanced Manufacturing Research Institute (Director: Nobumitsu Murayama) of AIST and Junichi Imaizumi (Manager), Technology Development Team 5, Technology Development Department of Tanaka Chemical Corporation (Tanaka Chemical; President: Tamotsu Tanaka). Approximately 30 % of the total amount of transition metals in these newly developed oxide materials is made up of iron, which is a low-cost and resource-wise abundant metal.

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