Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Manufacturers

Find suppliers and manufacturers of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles, AUV technology, underwater gliders and autonomous submarines for survey, research and military applications
Overview Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Manufacturers
By Technology Editor Last updated: December 17th, 2021

AUVs & Autonomous Submarines

Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) are a subset of Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs) that can function without real-time control from a human operator. They can be programmed to follow mission waypoints along a predetermined route and collect data or activate other payloads. Some autonomous submarines may use artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to make decisions and react to changes in their environment.

Slocum G3 Underwater Glider by Teledyne Marine

Slocum G3 Underwater Glider by Teledyne Marine

Underwater Gliders

Most AUVs are powered by rechargeable batteries, and some may also use fuel cells or solar power. The vehicles often use electric-powered propellers and thrusters for propulsion. A subset of AUVs, known as underwater gliders, use variable buoyancy to change their depth, and utilise hydrofoils to convert this movement into forward motion. Underwater gliders are ideal for sampling properties such as temperature and salinity throughout the water column.

AUV Navigation

Autonomous underwater navigation must rely on methods other than GPS, due to the inability of radios to penetrate very far into water. While the vehicle may surface from time to time in order to gain GPS fixes, this data must be supplemented by other technologies. Marine INS (Inertial Navigation Systems) can be used to gain position, acceleration, and velocity estimates, the accuracy of which can be improved with a Doppler Velocity Log, a device similar to sonar which measures the rate of travel over the sea floor. Depth can be measured using a pressure sensor.

NemoSens Micro AUV by RTSYS
NemoSens Micro AUV by RTSYS

AUV Sensors & Payloads

AUVs can carry a wide variety of underwater sensors and payloads that allow them to gather data and map the subsurface environment. These may include side scan sonars, single and multi-beam sonars, magnetometers, hydrophones and chemical sensors. Due to the inability to send or receive electromagnetic signals when submerged, data is stored onboard for later retrieval.