AUV Lab and affiliated Sea Grant researchers have been
developing Autonomous Surface Craft (ASCs) since the
early 1990's. Current research efforts involving the
ASC are along two fronts.
Profiler Surveys - we aim to equip the ASC AutoCat
with precision navigation systems and a novel instrument,
a high-frequency sub-bottom profiler.
This will allow us to perform high precision surveys
over a shallow water shipwreck, the Defence, off the
coast of Maine. Many years ago divers using conventional
nautical archaeology techniques excavated this wreck.
Preliminary surveys have also been done with the sub-bottom
profiler. By combining these earlier surveys with a
precisely controlled survey, only possible with a robotically
controlled vessel, we will learn a great deal about
applying this new instrument to shipwrecks and other
Vehicles - we are also using the ASC as a platform
for experiments in networked vehicle operations. We
will install acoustic and radio modems on the ASC so
that it can serve as a link between AUVs and ship or
shore labs. Eventually we envision a system of many
AUVs and ASCs communicating and collaborating to provide
mobile survey coverage of large areas.
is the third in a series of ASCs built at the AUV Lab.
Its predecesors were used as engineering test platforms,
student projects, and to track tagged fish. Built in
1996 AutoCat was developed to perform hydrographic surveys.
It completed a survey in Boston Harbor in late 1997
and showed excellent results. Recently, the platform
has been significantly improved and the computer/software
systems have been upgraded to match the AUV Lab's other
vehicles. AutoCat's future roles include shallow water
sub-bottom profiling and AUV telemetry.
m (72 inches)
m (42 inches)
kg (220 lbs)
m (12 inches)
nm / 4 hours
3m accuracy, DGPS
Lead Acid Batteries/ DC Trolling Motors or Gasoline/
3.3 hp Outboard
Telemetry Link, Marine Life Tracking, Hydrographic/Sub-bottom