Autonomous Undersea Systems Institute

AUSI participation

Autonomous Oceanographic Sampling Networks

AUSI is currently undertaking a number of investigations focused on the issues associated with applying autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) technology to the problems of ocean science. We are part of a much larger research effort focused on developing new ocean sampling systems for the 21st century. This program, "The Autonomous Oceanographic Sampling System (AOSN)" is being funded by the Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation and is being undertaken in conjunction with a number of US universities, as well as the Institute for Marine Technology Problems (IMTP), Russian Academy of Sciences. The AOSN concept suggests that networks of mobile and non-mobile autonomous ocean sampling systems can acquire the data necessary to understand large scale ocean phenomena without the use of large and costly research vessels.

Our specific research focus is to investigate the potential of utilizing solar energy to power an AUV such that its endurance will be measured in months as opposed to hours. A solar powered AUV (SAUV) prototype testbed is being developed as one type of AOSN data gathering platform. The solar powered autonomous system will come to the surface each day to recharge its onboard energy system and then undertake ocean data sampling activities during the nighttime hours. While on the surface, it can update its position using GPS and communicate with a remote user to offload acquired data and receive modifications to its onboard instructions. We are specifically focused on the problems that will arise when many of these vehicles are used simultaneously to gather data in a cooperative fashion.