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.
MBARI has developed an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) with capabilities to map the seafloor with higher resolution than is possible with hull-mounted or towed sonar systems.
The MBARI mapping AUV is a torpedo-shaped vehicle equipped with four mapping sonars that operate simultaneously during a mission. The sonars are a swath multibeam sonar, two sidescan sonars, and a sub-bottom profiler. The multibeam sonar produces high-resolution bathymetry (analogous to topography on land), the sidescan sonars produce imagery based on the intensity of the sound energy’s reflections, and the subbottom profiler penetrates sediments on the seafloor, allowing the detection of layers within the sediments, faults, and depth to the basement rock. All components are rated to 6,000 meters depth. The vehicle is launched on programmed missions and runs on its own battery power until it returns to the ship, as programmed, for recovery.
In honor of MBARI’s long-time Board member Dr. D. Allan Bromley of Yale University, who passed away in 2004, the mapping AUV was christened the D. Allan B.