MANO: Bluefin-12 AUV
Bluefin Robotics builds and manufactures modular free-flooded Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) platforms for defense, commercial and scientific applications, and have delivered more than 80 AUVs to customers world wide. The OTL engaged Bluefin to build and AUV specially designed to faciliate research into AUV sensor development and advanced guidance and navigation algorithms. The result was MANO a Bluefin-12 AUV with a flexible payload.
Custom and New Sensor Integration
AUVs are beginning to become commonplace in the underwater community. Well developed AUV programs exist at UBC, Memorial University and of course here at UVic. As the use of AUVs becomes more widespread, researchers have become increasingly interested in developing new instrumentation for AUVs and tailoring existing equipment to facilitate integration.
This was the inspiration for the MANO project – to develop an AUV platform that could be used in conjuction with the Ocean Technology Test Bed at UVic, to provide a test platform for developing, trialing and benchmarking underwater instrumentation on AUVs.
The key to facilitating this research is providing an easy integration method that minimizes the up front cost of testing, to allow instrument developers to test their sensor out on the platform without having to purchase an AUV themselves or have a customer that is willing to pay for integration costs on an unproven instrument. With MANO, the payload is completely independantly of the main vehicle; a seperate payload computer interacts with the primary vehicle computer to get navigation information and mission updates, and facilitates communication to the payload sensors. Updating software on the payload computer to support new instruments in a relatively straight forward task as it bypasses all the difficulties associated with integrating the sensor control directly into the vehicle control software. The OTL also has a sheltered operations area which minimizes the ship support and man power required to conduct testing.
Today MANO is being used to trial a new Conductivity Temperature and Depth (CTD) sensor, Oxygen sensor and sonar system.