AUVs:

RESEARCH

WHO'S INTERESTED IN AUVs?

Generally, AUV research falls into one (or more) of three categories:

  1. Scientific

  2. Military

  3. Commercial

(For more details on why AUVs are being used for these research categories, please see AUVS: HISTORY.)​

Thus, AUV research centres are usually one of the following:

  1. University institutes/labs 

  2. Non-profit institutes 

  3. Government institutes 

  4. Commercial companies

However, there is a considerable amount of overlap between the different research categories and within the research centres. For example, an AUV that is designed for seabed surveying may be used for scientific expeditions (e.g. exploring coral reefs), military missions (e.g. searching for mines), or commercial ventures (e.g. pipeline inspections). Furthermore, AUV users are expressing a growing desire for 'modular' AUVs that are not designed for one specific task but can be modified for a variety of different missions (e.g. the Bluefin SandShark [1]). Clearly, from a commercial perspective, these "one size fits all" AUVs are attractive as they enable mass production and allow for multiple markets to be targeted.

WHERE ARE THEY?

Below, I've summarized major contributors to AUV research since the 1960s. These have been split by continent and then ordered alphabetically (first by country, then by contributor name within the country).

Note: To avoid "double dipping", I have tried to omit the following instances:

  • Commercial companies that manufacture proprietary parts for AUVs developed by others, unless the AUV was conceived through a collaborative effort. For example, the AUV URASHIMA uses a closed-cycle fuel cell system developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the actual AUV was designed by the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) [4]. Thus, I have not listed Mitsubishi as the developer.

  • Parent companies; instead, I have listed the specific subsidiary responsible for AUV development. There are many instances of this (particularly with large, diverse commercial companies). For example, I have specified the Centre for Maritime Research & Experimentation (CMRE) instead of its parent administration, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) [5].  However, certain subsidiaries and their parent companies have both made significant and separate contributions, and are thus both included. An example is Maridan A/S (located in Denmark) versus its parent company, Atlas Elektronik (located in Germany) [6].

Finally, these lists have clearly been shaped by my personal opinion; there are many more centres of AUV research than are shown here. I have attempted to select them based on their significant contributions to AUV development, and the lists will be continually evolving. ​

NORTH AMERICA

NAME

TYPE

LOCATION

International Submarine Engineering

Commercial company

Canada​

Applied Physics Laboratory - U. Washington

University research lab

United States

Autonomous Undersea Vehicle Applications Center

Private non-profit research institute

United States

Bluefin Robotics

Commercial company

United States

Boeing

Commercial company

United States

Falmouth Scientific

Commercial company

United States

Marine Operations - U. Hawaii

University research lab

United States

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute 

Private non-profit research institute

United States

Office of Naval Research (US Navy)

Government research institute

United States

Riptide Autonomous Solutions

Commercial company

United States

Sea Grant - Massachusetts Institute of Technology

University research lab

United States

SeaTech - Florida Atlantic U.

University research lab

United States

Stone Aerospace

Commercial company

United States

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Private non-profit research institute

United States

EUROPE

NAME

TYPE

LOCATION

BAE Systems

Commercial company

England

National Oceanography Centre

Government research institute

England

Subsea 7

Commercial company

England

Maridan A/S*

Commercial company

Denmark

ECA Group

Commercial company

France

L’Institut Français de Recherche pour l’Exploitation de la Mer

Government research institute

France

Fraunhofer IOSB

Government research institute

Germany

Technical University of Berlin

University research institute

Germany

Teledyne Marine

Commercial company

Iceland

Centre for Maritime Research & Experimentation - NATO

Government research institute

Italy

Graal Tech

Commercial company

Italy

Kongsberg Maritime

Commercial company

Norway

Institute for Systems and Robotics - U. Lisboa

University research institute

Portugal

Underwater Systems and Technology Laboratory - Porto U.

University research lab

Portugal

Underwater Vision and Robotics Lab - U. Girona

University research lab

Spain

Saab Group (Naval)

Commercial company

Sweden

*subsidiary of Atlas Elektronik

ASIA

NAME

TYPE

LOCATION

Chinese Academy of Sciences

Government research institute

China

Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute*

Non-profit research institute

India

National Institute of Oceanography*

Non-profit research institute

India

Institute of Industrial Science - U. Tokyo

University research institute

Japan

Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology

Government research institute

Japan

Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering

Commercial company

Korea

Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology

Government research institute

Korea

*administered by ​the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), an independent body established by the Indian government.

WHAT ARE THEY RESEARCHING?

UNDER DEVELOPMENT

REFERENCES

  1. Bluefin Robotics. (n.d.). "Bluefin SandShark". Retrieved from http://www.bluefinrobotics.com/vehicles-batteries-and-services/bluefin-sandshark/

  2. Vicorob (Underwater Robotics Research Centre (CIRS), University of Girona). (2014). "Sparus II AUV". Retrieved from http://cirs.udg.edu/auvs-technology/auvs/sparus-ii-auv/

  3. Kongsberg. (n.d.). "Hydroid". Retrieved from https://www.km.kongsberg.com/hydroid​

  4. Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC). (n.d.). "Deep Sea Cruising AUV URASHIMA". Retrieved from http://www.jamstec.go.jp/e/about/equipment/ships/urashima.html

  5. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). (2017). "Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE)". Retrieved from http://www.cmre.nato.int/about-cmre/history-and-vision​

  6. ATLAS ELEKTRONIK. (n.d.). "ATLAS MARIDAN: A company of the ATLAS ELEKTRONIK Group". Retrieved from ​https://www.maridan.atlas-elektronik.com/companyinfo/

Last revised: April 20, 2020​

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© 2020 ALLISON SUEYI CHUA

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