The KTH underwater technology group is prforming research and development in the field of primarely Unmanned Autonomous Vehicles (AUV) for environmental probing.
SeaSaw (picture) is an example and the product of research, development and entrepreneurship project aimed to develop the potential of a novel type of an unmanned autonomous underwater sensor platform suitable for shallow water operations. The SeaSaw is a buoyancy-driven robotic underwater glider that penetrates the ocean by zig-zagging in a very energy efficient manner. The payload consist of instruments for probing anything in the environment from selinity, levels of oxygen or nitrogen to acoustics. The design is such that, in contrast to existing gliders, the SeaSaw will be effective even in shallow waters such as the Baltic sea.
The use of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) is increasing rapidly as a result of technical achievements in a range of fields from materials, electronics, satellite communications, GPS, micro-controllers to battery technology. The combined state of the art in the various fields enable the design of highly autonomous vessels that stays out in the ocean for weeks or months.
The need for underwater probing, inspection and other data sampling missions is increasing. Reasons for this are many and range from environmental monitoring through inspection and maintenance of e.g. pipelines, rigs and other installations to a number of military applications. A lot of missions are solved using AUVs with relatively limited operational range and with a need for contact with a mother-ship. A number of missions could potentially be solved by the use of a AUV (or Hybrid AUV so called HAUV) at much lower cost by eliminating the need for escort and near-site operation. The advantages of such vehicles are numerous when considering the possibilities of a platform to travel large distances to reach a potentially remote area where the craft switches from traveling mode to solve a specific task.