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AUVs are still relatively young, in that thirty years ago they were still considered more “technical curiosities” [1] that had been proven in testing but had not yet been accepted and used as valid instruments. Today, however, they are used worldwide for a wide variety of applications. Generally, the purpose of an AUV falls into one (or more) of the following categories: scientific, military, or commercial. A brief timeline of AUV development is shown below.


A timeline of AUV developments from the 1960s to the present


  1. Bellingham, J. G. (2014). "Have robot, will travel". Methods in Oceanography. 10, 5-20. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mio.2014.10.001

  2. MarketsandMarkets. (2016). "Autonomous Underwater Vehicles Market worth 497.9 Million USD by 2022". Retrieved from http://www.marketsandmarkets.com/PressReleases/autonomous-underwater-vehicles.asp

Last revised: April 16, 2020​