China’s self-developed underwater glider finishes sea trial

May 28, 2014 – via Tianjin University

Haiyan (Petrel II HUG) underwater glider, a Chinese self-developed autonomous underwater vehicle, has finished a sea trial recently.

The underwater glider, a yellow torpedo-like device, is 1.8 meters in length with a diameter of 0.3 meter, and weighs about 70 kilograms. The device is developed by a scientific research team of Tianjin University.

The Haiyan underwater glider can go 1,500 meters underwater; its maximum voyage is 1,000 kilometers and it can work 30 days continuously.

It operated smoothly and also demonstrated outstanding performance in a recent sea trial in waters of the South China Sea.

Sea Technology has a feature article on the Petrel II Hybrid Underwater Glider (HUG)

A HUG, Petrel-II, that was developed by Tianjin University in 2012 combines behaviors of traditional AUGs and those of AUVs. It is equipped with an active buoyancy unit, a compact propeller unit, an attitude (pitch and roll) regulating unit and a pair of fixed wings. It has two working modes, buoyancy-driven gliding and propeller-driven level flight. Petrel-II can automatically switch between the two modes according to commands or environmental circumstances. Its maximal gliding speed reaches 0.8 knots, and its propelling speed can reach up to 3 knots. It is particularly suitable to perform survey missions in strong currents. In addition to the improvement on the speed capacity, Petrel-II is characterized by a low drag, a high depth rating, light weight and high cost-efficiency. It has experienced two lake trials and three sea trials in 2013. The experimental results verify the maneuverability and effectiveness of the vehicle.

Main configuration of Petrel-II: 1) buoyancy regulating unit, 2) attitude regulating unit, 3) control center, 4) vertical tail fin, 5) antenna duct, 6) propeller unit, 7) emergency unit, 8) horizontal wings and 9) pressure hull.
Components and Specifications of Petrel-II

Petrel-II consists of two parts: the mechanical part and the electrical control part. The mechanical part can be functionally divided into five subsystems: the pressure hull, the buoyancy regulating unit, the attitude regulating unit, the propeller unit and the emergency unit. Besides the above subsystems, the wings and the tail antenna are important mechanical accessories of the vehicle. The electrical control part of Petrel-II has the following subsystems: the processing unit, the navigation unit, the energy unit, the communication and position unit, and the scientific sensor suites. The communication and position unit consists of wireless, Iridium and GPS modules.

For convenient transportation and launch, the weight of Petrel-II is limited to 68 kilograms. Petrel-II’s main body is 2.2 meters long with a maximum diameter of 0.22 meters. The wing span is 1.2 meters, and the antenna mast is 1-meter long. The wings and the antenna mast can be easily removed, and the entire vehicle can be loaded into a small box for transportation. In order to expand the operational field, the maximum work depth is 1,500 meters. The maximum forward velocity is 3 knots in propelling mode. The range is roughly 1,200 kilometers and is related to operational depth, glide angle, survey mission and battery life.

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Author:Fang Liu, Yanhui Wang, Shuxin Wang

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