Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
LRAUV poster

"A Small, Long-Range AUV with Flexible Speed and Payload" presented by J.G. Bellingham et al. 2010 Ocean Sciences Meeting

ABSTRACT: A new class of propeller-driven AUV, which we call Tethys, has been created specifically to carry biological and chemical sensors long ranges. The vehicle can support an 8 W sensor payload for distances in excess of 1000 km at 1 m/s. Operating at a speed of 0.5 m/s with minimal sensors allows ranges of several thousand kilometers. In addition, by way of a buoyancy engine, the vehicle is capable of trimming to neutral buoyancy and drifting in a low power mode.

The vehicle is small, about 120 kg dry weight, and designed to be simple enough for operations by individual PI laboratories. Tethys provides capabilities falling between existing propeller driven vehicles, which typically have endurances on the order of a day, and buoyancy-driven vehicles (gliders) that can operate for many months. Existing propeller- driven AUVs are optimized around comparatively power intensive payloads and require logistical support from ships, which increases operational costs.

Gliders are designed to carry a minimal sensor suite for as long as possible. While their endurance reduces logistical costs, they can be challenged by currents and have limited payload capacity. Tethys development focused on combining the merits of propeller-driven and buoyancy driven vehicles, as well as adding some new features such as the drift capability. Tethys is at the end of a three year development program and is undergoing early sea testing.

Click below to access a pdf document.

*Important note-Information on HOTS ALOHA mission is a past mission and not up to date.

© MBARI 2010

Reference: J.G. Bellingham, B. Hobson, M. A. Godin, B. Kieft, J. Erikson, R. McEwen, C. Kecy, Y. Zhang, T. Hoover, and E. Mellinger, “A Small, Long-Range AUV with Flexible Speed and Payload,” Ocean Sciences Meeting, Abstract MT15A-14, Portland, OR, February 2010.

Last updated: Aug. 17, 2010