Reliant autonomous underwater vehicle sets endurance record

Nov. 20, 2013 at 1:23 PM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy's Reliant counter-mine autonomous underwater vehicle has set an endurance record, traveling 315 miles in a bit more than 100 hours.

The Reliant, the prototype of the new Knifefish mine-hunter AUV, is an advanced version of Bluefin Robotics' Bluefin-21 AUV and is operated by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory's Acoustics Division.

The Navy Research Laboratory said the Reliant traveled from Boston to New York City as an experiment to uncover the challenges and requirements for significantly extending AUV endurance for new applications.

During the voyage, the autonomous underwater vehicle traveled at a depth of 32 feet at an average speed of 2.5 knots. It surfaced every 32 miles to report and reached Upper New York Bay with a 10 percent energy reserve.

"This record multi-day research mission demonstrates the state-of-the-art autonomy methods and capabilities of the Reliant AUV," said Dr. Brian Houston, head, NRL Physical Acoustics Branch. "It is our first step in developing a robust autonomy paradigm for AUVs in long-endurance scenarios."

Reliant is 20 feet long and weighs more than 1,300 pounds. It features a 40 kilowatt-hour energy section, a fiber-optic gyro-based inertial navigation system integrated with GPS, and a Doppler velocity log for precise underwater navigation.

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