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Note: The MERLIN laboratory has moved to the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Sciences and is no longer associated with the CREAIT Network.


Memorial has commenced a new and exciting area of interdisciplinary AUV-based research unparalleled in the Canadian scientific community. The advantage of using the Explorer AUV as opposed to other platforms is its versatility to deploy a wide range of sensor payloads and the ability to send the vehicle to remote locations that cannot be accessed with a vehicle that has a tether or link to the surface.

There are several on-going projects within the lab representing the development and usage of underwater vehicles. The MUN Explorer AUV is the “flagship” vehicle in the lab and while fully ocean capable it is being operated initially in coastal areas of Newfoundland for environmental monitoring, seabed imaging and vehicle dynamics testing. Work is on-going to develop the payload of the vehicle to include CTD, sonar and camera devices giving it more versatility and capabilities.


This is a 4.5m ocean-going AUV with a 3,000m depth capability built by International Submarine Engineering Ltd. The vehicle was primarily funded from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency through the Atlantic Innovation Fund. The Memorial University AUV is a multi-user vehicle. Its primary use is for research purposes in Newfoundland, and other parts of as a research platform for underwater sensor technologies such as underwater imaging (sonar and cameras) and water quality.


For most of the initial operations, we anticipate launching and recovering the AUV from shore, however ship based operations are possible. Water column sensors will form the initial instrumentation suite. Subsequent seabed and iceberg survey work will be undertaken with side scan sonars, sub-bottom profilers and multi-beam echo sounders. The vehicle consists of a torpedo shaped body with 4 aft planes and 2 foreplanes, a propeller, and a small number of surface features in the form of transducers, antenna, and a strobe light. As well, a retractable communications mast is fitted aft in the vehicle. The nose is cylindrically shaped and the tail is a tapered cone.

The vehicle configured with a 150 kg scientific payload weighs 700kg and displaces 710 kg. Thus large instrumentation outfits can be quickly configured on the vehicle by replacing the instrumentation section of the AUV. Different users can be provided with a shell piece in order to outfit their instruments, thus efficiently making use of the AUV time and availability for missions. Hence the AUV can very easily accommodate the specialized needs of different users.

Subsequent to the Explorer work, the C-SCOUT AUV (Canadian Self-Contained Off the shelf Underwater Testbed) is the testbed vehicle of the lab which is focused on the development of propellers, vehicle simulators and vehicle dynamics and is primarily operated in tank tests.

Characteristics Specifications

Overall Dimensions
-Hull Diameter

4.5 m long
0.69 m diameter

Dry Weight: 700 kg
Displacement: 710 kg
Endurance: 6 hours with 50 watt payload
Maximum Depth: 3000 meters with 10% safety factor
Cruising Speed: 1.5 meters per second
Speed range 0.5 to 2.5 m/s
Power Source and Capacity 6-1.1 kWh E One Moli Energy Li-Ion recharageable battery modules. Expansion capability to 10.4 KWh.
Computer Rack mount compactPCI system for vehicle control and a payload computer
Hydroplanes 4 NACA 0026 stern planes. 2 NACA 0026 foreplanes

Navigation INU Type
Velocity Sensor
Dept Sensor
Altitude Sensor

Watson BA 303 AHRS
Sound Ocean System GPS with retractable mast.
RDI Workhorse 300 kHz DVL
Paroscientific dept transducer with an accuracy of 0.1% over the 3000m range.
Kongsberg Simrad Mesotech 1007 Digital Altimer

Positioning Systems LinkQuest MA5000 USBL system
Acoustic Telemetry LinkQuest UMW 3000 - 4800 bps maximum
Radio Telemetry DataLine SRM6210E 902-928 MHz ISM modem -144 Kbps
Payload Capacity Without removing trim lead - 150 kg
Compass, Attitude Sensor Incorporated in the Watson BA 303 AHRS
Emergency Equipment ORE 4336B Transponder locator, NovatechST-AR400 Strobe, RF 700 A1 Radio Beacon
Integrated sensors MicroCTD, Idronaut dissolved oxygen, Cyclops-7 RWT fluorometer