Ultra modular autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV)
systems for shallow-water search
Samuel Smith, Ph.D.
Florida Atlantic University
Wednesday, December 13, 2000
3:00 p.m.—Pacific Forum
The Advanced Marine Systems Lab at Florida Atlantic University has
developed a new ultra modular, plastic mini AUV, called the Morpheus,
for coastal oceanographic applications such as sampling, survey, and
military applications like very shallow-water mine counter measures (MCM).
The name Morpheus was chosen because the Greek god Morpheus could change
shape or "morph". In the same spirit, the higher degree of
modularity of the AUV Morpheus allows it to change its size and
components for different applications. This vehicle is composed of modular
injection, molded plastic pressure vessels and a cabling system that allow
the modules to be rearranged without rewiring bulkheads. The plastic
pressure vessels are inexpensive, inherently mass producible, extremely
corrosion resistant, and have low-magnetic signatures. The pressure
vessels are small (roughly 12" long by 9" diameter) but are
sized to fit most standard electronic board standards such as PC104, 3U
VME, Compact PCI, STD 32, and even full size PCI (with two ganged
together). The mini AUV can be anywhere from 4 ft. to 10 ft. in length,
depending on its mission. A unique feature is the support for hovering
capability, with optional cross-body thruster sections. A docking system
has been developed for the vehicle as well. The vehicle architecture is an
adaptation of the Ocean Explorer AUV system and uses a distributed control
network for connecting all sensors and actuator subsystems as smart nodes.
The modularity in containers, control, and power makes this vehicle
rapidly reconfigurable and easy to repair or upgrade.
This seminar will present details of the design and construction of the
new mini AUV as well as several sensor systems. The AUV Morpheus
was deployed this summer in field exercises for very shallow and shallow
water MCM. Some results from these tests will be presented.
Next: Radiative transfer and hyperspectral remote sensing in optically shallow waters