Guide Underwater Vehicles

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The underwater glider can go 1, meters underwater; its maximum voyage is 1, kilometers and it can work 30 days continuously. Read Article. AutoNaut is wave propelled and performs equally well on all headings, and has long endurance.

1. Introduction

View More. View Full Story. Name: Email: Organization:. ECA S. Figures 2B and 2C show the remotely operated underwater vehicle of figure 2A, in which some parts have been taken out, in order to allow the view of the six thrusters. Figure 3A shows a scheme in which the six thrust vectors corresponding to the six thrusters are designed to be placed on respective faces of a parallelepiped, in particular a cube. A reference frame located in the geometric center of the cube is included, and the thrust vectors 1 and 2 are parallel to the Y axis of such frame, the 3 and 4 are parallel to the Z axis, and the 5 and 6 are parallel to the X axis.

Figure 3B shows the six thrust vectors 1 -6 of Figure 3A placed on the same faces of the cube but in this case their directions have been changed. For example, thrust vector 1 has been oriented an angle a with regard to the Y direction. In figure 3C, the thrust vectors are aligned with the diagonals of the faces of the cube. Figure 4 shows another schematic drawing illustrating the location of the six thrusters comprised in a remotely operated underwater vehicle according to the invention.

Figures 5 A and 5B show two different arrangements of thrusters according to the invention. Figures 7 A and 7B show two possible views of the remotely operated underwater vehicle of the invention.

Navigation for Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs)

Figure 8 shows another view of the remotely operated underwater vehicle of the invention. In this text, the term "comprises" and its derivations such as "comprising", etc. In the context of the present invention, the term "approximately" and terms of its family such as "approximate", etc. That is to say, a deviation within reasonable limits from an exact value should be accepted, because a skilled person in the art will understand that such a deviation from the values indicated is inevitable due to measurement inaccuracies, etc. The same applies to the terms "about" and "around" and "substantially".

Shared autonomy for low‐cost underwater vehicles

The following description is not to be taken in a limiting sense but is given solely for the purpose of describing the broad principles of the invention. Next embodiments of the invention will be described by way of example, with reference to the above-mentioned drawings showing apparatuses and results according to the invention. An underwater vehicle is described. The underwater vehicle can be a remotely operated underwater vehicle ROV. ROVs are controlled by a person from a remote location, such as a boat connected to the ROV via an umbilical.

Alternatively, the umbilical is connected from the ROV to an unmanned boat or platform, which is wirelessly connected to a control center. It is possible to remove the umbilical from the ROV, in which case the vehicle is powered by means of batteries. Moreover, the vehicle may be programmed for developing a mission in an autonomous way.

These vehicles are called AUVs Autonomous Underwater Vehicles when they always work autonomously they need no remote operation at all and hybrid ROVs HROVs when they can either be remotely controlled via an umbilical or be autonomous, for which the umbilical is removed. Figure 1 shows an underwater vehicle according to an embodiment of the present invention.

The vehicle comprises a frame 1 1 which in turn holds six thrusters 12 and can be driven or controlled in 6 d eg rees-of-f reed om movement capability in any direction and any angle. It is therefore omnidirectional. In the view of figure 1 only five thrusters 12 can be seen.

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Only certain parts of the frame 1 1 and the thrusters 12 of the vehicle, as well as some other elements, are shown in figure 1. In figure 1 , several modules can be seen. In this particular embodiment, there are several modules 13 14, which are floating elements used to increase the floatability and counteract the weight of the vehicle once it is submerged. The vehicle provides 4 natural fixing surfaces pointed by arrows in Fig.

Non- limiting examples of typical payload sensors used in these vehicles are altimeter, obstacle avoidance sonar, multi-beam sonar, acoustic Doppler current profiler, USBL and sensors for water ambient conditions such as temperature, salinity, pH, 02, chlorophyll and fluoride.

It is also possible to assemble two cameras 16A 16B instead of only one, as depicted in the particular embodiment of figure 7B. In this embodiment, the space left in the centre of one floating module has been used for assembling the second camera. This can be used for achieving stereovision or 3D vision. These fixing surfaces are used for assembling the floating modules 13 14, and in the centre of these modules 13 14 the payload sensors are fixed.

An example of equipment sensor fixed to one of the floating modules is a camera or main camera 16, which is usually necessary, as the main and basic function of these vehicles is normally visual inspection. In figure 1 , a camera 16 is fixed on floating module The ability of being omnidirectional with only six thrusters 12 is achieved thanks to the special disposition of the six thrusters 12, which is described next.

Figure 2A shows a particular implementation of a vehicle according to figure 1 , in which some of the outer floating structures and parts have been taken out, in order to allow the view of the inner elements. In this implementation, there is a frame 1 1 formed by a plurality of bars or rods, which has an upper end and a lower end opposite the upper end.


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A non-limiting example of the material of which the bars are made is stainless steel. The six thrusters 12 are held at different fixing points, plates or holders 17 disposed at the frame 1 1. In general, the components that form the vehicle platform, including the floating structures, are made of rust resistant materials. Non-limiting examples of such materials are plastics, stainless steel, anodized aluminum and titanium.

The design has to beware also of galvanic corrosion. Therefore, putting two different metals in electric contact needs to be avoided. The outer body of each thruster 12 may be covered by a protection tube This tube 15 is preferably made of a plastic material.

The disposition of each thruster 12 is explained with reference to figures 3A- 3C. In a preferred embodiment, a container carrying the electronics 19 as well as the camera 16 is solidary to the frame 1 1. In the particular embodiment of figure 2A, this element 19 is solidary to the upper part of the frame 1 1.

A camera 16 is held in the container In this embodiment, the camera 16 may be surrounded by a lens hood for protecting the camera lens against direct sun rays. The thrusters 12 are bi-directional and can operate in forward or reverse mode. The thrusters 12 are out of the scope of the present invention. As a matter of example, they can be motors with attached propellers or water pumping turbines. Figures 2B and 2C shows an alternative implementation of a vehicle according to figure 2A, in which some of the outer floating structures and parts have been taken out, in order to allow the view of the inner elements.

In figures 2B and 2C the container 19 has been drawn transparent in order to leave sight to the six thrusters or at least the protection tubes which preferably cover the thrusters.

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Navigation for Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs)

Additional elements, not shown, such as sensors, buoys or others, can be fixed to the frame 1 1 or to the fixing points, plates or holders Next, the approach followed in the design of preferred implementations of the location of the thrusters is explained. Each of the six thrusters is meant to be at the plane defined by each of the faces of an imaginary parallelepiped.

In a preferred embodiment, all the six faces of the parallelepiped are rectangular or square. In other words, the imaginary parallelepiped is preferably a rectangular cuboid six rectangular faces or a cube six square faces. In other words, each thruster the vector defined thereby is located on a plane face and there are three pairs of planes faces which are parallel to each other, while the non-parallel planes faces are perpendicular to each other.

Underwater Vehicles - General Dynamics Mission Systems

Figure 3A shows a scheme in which the six thrusters are designed such that their thrust vectors are each placed on respective faces of a parallelepiped, which in particular is a cube but could be a rectangular cuboid instead. One or more of the six thrust vectors may be at the geometrical centre of the face of the cube at which it is located one thruster per face. In a more general implementation, each of the six thrust vectors can be located at any geometrical position within its face of the cube. The thrust vector of each thruster has a certain magnitude which can vary with time and is placed onto the corresponding face of the cube with an angle a to be set angle defined with respect to a reference direction.

The thrusters are bidirectional, so the thrust vectors are reversible.


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In figure 3A a reference frame located in the geometric center of the cube is included, and the thrust vectors 1 and 2 are parallel to the Y axis of such frame, the 3 and 4 are parallel to the Z axis, and the 5 and 6 are parallel to the X axis. The X, Y and Z axis define a cartesian coordinate system. These vectors are named from now on "reference vectors '. An AUV conducts its survey mission without operator intervention.

When a mission is complete, the AUV will return to a pre-programmed location where the data can be downloaded and processed. A remotely operated vehicle ROV is an unoccupied underwater robot that is connected to a ship by a series of cables. These cables transmit command and control signals between the operator and the ROV, allowing remote navigation of the vehicle. An ROV may include a video camera, lights, sonar systems, and an articulating arm.

The articulating arm is used for retrieving small objects, cutting lines, or attaching lifting hooks to larger objects.