The Next Generation of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles

The Next Generation of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles

Autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) could soon be getting more intelligent thanks to advances in robotics.

AUVs are helping scientists discover more than ever about the deep ocean but there’s currently a limit on how much they can help. Data collected by AUVs takes time to analyse, meaning that the ability to use this critical information in real-time is lost.

A recent paper, published by experts at the Universities of Delaware and Oregon State, describes how they’ve modified their AUVs to allow the robots to make independent decisions during expeditions.

The team pre-programmed the onboard computers to make certain decisions based on the size and density of marine organisms. In this particular case, if the AUV detected a pre-set concentration of squid, this triggered a second mission to report the robot’s location and create a detailed map of the area to follow the squid.

More pre-programmed steps could be added over time, resulting in a complex series of possible movements and actions that would make a AUV far more responsive to the world around it.

Using this kind of approach, 
AUVs could discover things in the ocean that land-based scientists would otherwise miss.

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