The Bluefin Hovering AUV (HAUV) is designed for ship hull inspection fir the Navy EOD’s “Explosive Ordnance Disposal Hull Unmanned Underwater Localization System” program (EOD HULS).
The HAUV typically operates by hull-relative navigation and control. The vehicle points an actuated Doppler Velocity Log (DVL) at the ship’s hull in order to maintain a fixed standoff distance and determine its hull-relative position. As the vehicle moves relative to the hull, an actuated sonar (DIDSON) images the hull with 100% coverage. On the surface, the operator monitors the DIDSON data transmitted in real-time over a fiber optic tether. Although the vehicle operates autonomously most of the time, the operator has the ability to stop the vehicle near a contact detected in the real-time DIDSON data stream. Under manual control, some degrees of freedom such as the standoff distance are still automatically controlled by the vehicle. The operatorcan move the vehicle side to side and up and down, call the contact, and resume the autonomous search.