Explorer AUV


SpecificationsResponsive AUV Localization and Mapping (REALM)
REALM Contact Information


The MUN Explorer AUV is designed to be tolerant to a depth of 3000 meters, has a length of 5.3 meters, a diameter of 0.69 meters and a dry weight of 820 kilograms. The fore and aft sections of the AUV are free flooding resulting in a mass of approximately 1400 kilograms when the vehicle is in water.

The AUV has 11 E-One Moli Lithium-Ion Cobalt based rechargeable batteries with a total energy capacity of 17.6 kilowatt-hours. With a full survey payload and an average speed of 1.5 m/s the vehicle can run for 16 hours, surveying over 80Kms.

A second payload computer has been integrated to operate in parallel with the vehicle control computer. Its function is to interact with client specified payload sensors, that is, facilitate the configuration, initialization and data collection of such sensors.

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Characteristics Specifications
Length 5.3 m
Diameter 0.69 m
Dry Weight 830 kg
Energy 17.6 kWh
Maximum Depth 3000 m with 10% safety factor
Typical Crusing Speed 1.5 m/s
Speed Range 0.5 m/s to 2.5 m/s
Power Source and Capacity 11 x 1.6 kWh E-One Moli Energy Li-Ion Cobalt rechargeable battery modules
Computer Rack mount cPCI system for vehicle control and payload control computer
Hydroplanes 4 NACA 0026 stern planes
2 NACA 0026 fore planes
Navigation INU Type
Velocity Sensor
Depth Sensor
Altitude Sensor
Sound Ocean System GPS
RDI Workhorse 300 kHz DVL
Paroscientific depth transducer
Kongsberg Simrad Mesotech 1007 Digital Altimeter
Positioning Systems LinkQuest MA5000 USBL system
Acoustic Telemetry LinkQuest UMW 3000 - 4800 bps maximum
Radio Telemetry FreeWave 900MHz Ethernet Radio
Emergency Equipment LinkQuest MA5000 USBL (Independently powered)
NovatechST-AR400 Strobe
RF 700 A1 Radio Beacon
Integrated Sensors and Payloads R2 Sonics 2024 Multibeam Echosounder System
Edgetech 2200M Side Scan Sonar System/Subbottom Profiler
Seabird Fastcat 49 CTD
Valeport MiniSVS

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Responsive AUV Localization and Mapping (REALM)

REALM is the Responsive AUV Localization and Mapping project, supported by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency Atlantic Innovation Fund, Research & Development Corporation Newfoundland and Labrador, Fugro GeoSurvey’s Inc. and Memorial University of Newfoundland. The project has entailed the development of new technologies in the area of advanced AUV navigation and performance; AUV support technologies; a novel subbottom imaging seabed survey capability; and development of the Memorial Explorer AUV into a platform capable of deepwater seabed survey.

The multiphase, five-year project is focused on fostering commercial partnerships with local and national companies and to develop IP internally by building new collaborations internal to the University and with the public research institutions.

The local commercial collaboration, with PanGeo Subsea Inc., was to deploy a new SBI™ technology on the Explorer AUV. This effort required modification of the SBI sonar technology for housing in the Explorer; modification to the Explorer to accommodate the large SBI sonar’s acoustic array; and improvement to the Explorer’s dynamical behaviours with respect to low velocity, low altitude control and performance. Successful completion of the SBI integration resulted in a potential new AUV survey offering via PanGeo Subsea and builds significantly on Memorial’s design capability with respect to hull design and vehicle control, stability and performance.

Memorial has leveraged its past AUV developmental and operational experiences to undertaking some technology development internally. These initiatives included an emergency AUV localization system to enable remote localization of an asset in an over the horizon (i.e. out of regular acoustic communication range) loss scenario; a mobile surface control system unit to replace the larger, bulky surface control system rack; and algorithm development to improve AUV acoustic communications in horizontal, shore based operational configurations.

This project involves technology investment in the vehicle that results in a capability to use the Explorer AUV for commercial seabed survey with a multibeam echosounder sonar and side scan sonar. With the completion of this work, the Explorer AUV constitutes the only large AUV available in Canada for such work.

In joint development with International Submarine Engineering Ltd. (ISE), the sonar technology is the cornerstone of the development of an advanced navigational suite. The suite centers around improved navigation performance through the development of qualitative navigation, adaptive mission control and simultaneous mapping and localization technologies.

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Contact Information

Dr. Andrew Vardy Dr. Dan Walker
Co-Principal Investigator Co-Principal Investigator
Email: av[at]mun.ca Email: dwalker[at]mun.ca
Phone: +1 709-864-4521 Phone: +1 709-864-8967
Fax: +1 709-864-6193  
Ron Lewis Peter King
Project Manager Research Lab Coordinator
Email: ron[at]mun.ca Email: peter.king[at]mun.ca
Phone: +1 709-864-4632/4590     Phone: +1 709-864-8814
Fax: +1 709-864-6193 Fax: +1 709-864-6193


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