Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Underwater Exploration: Autosub6000 Dives To Depth Of 3.5 Miles

Date:
October 28, 2009
Source:
National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (UK)
Summary:
The United Kingdom's deepest diving Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, Autosub6000, has been put through its paces during an extremely successful engineering trials cruise on the RRS Discovery, Sept. 27 to Oct. 17, 2009.

The Autosub6000 is being readied for launch. Note the collision avoidance sonar and fenders mounted on the nose of the AUV.

The United Kingdom's deepest diving Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV), Autosub6000, has been put through its paces during an extremely successful engineering trials cruise on the RRS Discovery, 27 September to 17 October 2009.

Autosub6000 was working in regions of the Iberian Abyssal Plain in the North Atlantic deeper than 5600 metres and also around the steep and rugged terrain of the Casablanca Seamount, between Madeira and Morocco. The vehicle was designed and constructed by engineers at the Underwater Systems Laboratory in the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton.

Highlights:

  • Operating at 5600 metres depth. Very few (if any) AUVs have ever operated autonomously at this depth.
  • Survey at 3 metre altitude -- paving the way for deep ocean photographic surveys.
  • Terrain following at 10 metre altitude over very rough relief.
  • Testing improved fault detection software so that the AUV can recover from hardware faults.
  • Testing of recently fitted magnetometer, turbidity and precision salinity sensors

One of the main goals of the Autosub6000 engineering trials was the demonstration of the accessibility of deep ocean regions approaching the 6000 metre design depth limit. On 3 October 2009, the AUV descended and reached it's pre-programmed target depth of 5525 metres in 1.5 hours. At this point, a navigation update procedure was undertaken to update and correct for the Autosub6000's drift which was incurred as it descended through the moving water column. After 2.5 hours from deployment, the Autosub6000 was on station at a depth of 5600 metres, positioned to accuracies of a few metres, and ready to start collecting scientific data.

Autosub6000 has been enhanced with a forward-looking vertically scanning obstacle-detection sonar and improved terrain-following control software, giving the AUV the ability to operate safely, closer to the seabed. This was demonstrated at low altitudes in the steep and rugged slopes of the Casablanca Seamount with a 10 metre altitude run starting at 3000 metres depth and rising up to 700 metres depth over a course of 7.5 kilometres. The ability of Autosub6000 to perform low-altitude colour photographic surveys was demonstrated on the more level summit regions of the Casablanca Seamount with low-speed surveys at altitudes of as low as 3 metres.

Steve McPhail, Autosub6000 project leader, said, "Apart from the correct functioning of the vehicle during the trials at extreme depths, what particularly pleased me was that we have now developed the control and obstacle avoidance systems such that we have the confidence to send the AUV into a hostile and rugged terrain. This will lead to more challenging and interesting scientific campaigns in the future."

Autosub6000 is now being prepared for a cruise on board the RRS James Cook to the Caribbean Sea near the Cayman Islands in April 2010, where it will be used in conjunction with the remotely operated vehicle Isis to search for deep hydrothermal vents.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (UK). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (UK). "Underwater Exploration: Autosub6000 Dives To Depth Of 3.5 Miles." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091028112622.htm>.
National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (UK). (2009, October 28). Underwater Exploration: Autosub6000 Dives To Depth Of 3.5 Miles. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091028112622.htm
National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (UK). "Underwater Exploration: Autosub6000 Dives To Depth Of 3.5 Miles." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091028112622.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

California Drought Is Good News for Gold Prospectors

California Drought Is Good News for Gold Prospectors

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) — For months California has suffered from a historic drought. The lack of water is worrying for farmers and ranchers, but for gold diggers it’s a stroke of good fortune. With water levels low, normally inaccessible areas are exposed. Duration: 01:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: MN Lakes Still Frozen Before Fishing Opener

Raw: MN Lakes Still Frozen Before Fishing Opener

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) — With only three weeks until Minnesota's fishing opener, many are wondering if the ice will be gone. Some of the Northland lakes are still covered by up to three feet of ice, causing concern that just like last year, the lakes won't be ready. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Warn Of Likely El Niño Event This Year

Scientists Warn Of Likely El Niño Event This Year

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — With Pacific ocean water already showing signs of warming, the NOAA says there's about a 66 percent chance the event will begin before November. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — South Korean officials say North Korea is preparing to conduct another nuclear test, but is Pyongyang just bluffing this time? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins