Agile Underwater Glider to Quietly Survey Sea
AUVs have become versatile tools for exploring the seas. But they can be disruptive to the environment or have trouble traveling through confined spaces.
Purdue University researchers are studying an alternative: highly maneuverable, low-cost underwater gliders that operate silently. Components and sensors of the glider also can be easily swapped out or added according to a wide range of mission specifications.
“Our goal is persistent operation of mobile robots in challenging environments,” said Nina Mahmoudian, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University. “Most underwater robots have limited battery life and must return back after just a few hours. For long-endurance operations, an underwater glider can travel for weeks or months between charges but could benefit from increased deployment opportunities in high-risk areas.”
Mahmoudian has developed an agile vehicle called ROUGHIE (Research Oriented Underwater Glider for Hands on Investigative Engineering). Shaped like a torpedo, ROUGHIE is about 4-ft. long and features no outward propulsion or control surfaces other than a static rear wing.
A video about the research is available on YouTube.