MBARI Dorado AUVs:
The Dorado-class AUVs are 53.3 centimeters (21 inches) in diameter and can be as short as 2.4 meters (8 feet) or as long as 6.4 meters (21 feet), depending on the mission. The first Dorado was operated in late 2001 to measure the inflow of water into the Arctic basin through the Fram Straits and provided the basic template for MBARI Dorado -class AUVs.
Systems currently operational at MBARI include the upper-water-column vehicle, in routine operations since 2002; the seafloor mapping AUV, which accomplished its first deep mapping operations in 2006; the imaging AUV, and the long-range AUV. The core vehicle elements are deep-rated (the mapping AUV is 6,000 meters rated) and have been operated as long as 20 hours.
In 2009, major advances were made in sampling intensity and screening of biodiversity from water samples obtained with MBARI’s autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) gulper water-sampling system. The upper-water-column vehicle with “gulper samplers”, a new payload developed at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), is designed to rapidly acquire multiple large-volume water samples aboard the AUV.
This AUV is unique in that it can collect up to ten 1.8-liter water samples while traveling through the water or through a plume.