ONR's autonomous underwater hull inspection vehicle nearing procurement

Apr 07, 2011
The Explosive Ordnance Disposal Hull Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Localization System can maneuver under ships to detect explosives. Funded by the Office of Naval Research, is closer to reality following the awarding of a production contract in March. Credit: Courtesy photo

An Office of Naval Research (ONR) autonomous underwater vehicle, which can maneuver under ships to detect explosives, is closer to reality following the awarding of a production contract in March.

Since that award, ONR researchers have been preparing for a demonstration of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Hull Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Localization System (EOD HULS) in June at Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City, Fla.

That test will be the last with the full system, said Dr. Thomas Swean an ONR research scientist.

"This will be a big demonstration of our capabilities. The system will go into the water to survey a ship," he said. "ONR developed an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) that could maneuver in very tight and complex areas."

On March 2, Massachusetts-based Bluefin Robotics was awarded a $30 million contract to produce EOD HULS. The goal is to develop a small and affordable that can inspect ships for anomalies.

Previously, teams of divers had been required to carry out inspections of hulls. That work often took hours to complete on vessels that could be as large as , Swean said.

HULS evolved from the Hovering , an ONR initiative awarded to Bluefin and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2002. Bluefin designed the vehicle while MIT developed the control systems.

The EOD program office then turned the idea into the EOD HULS program with initial funding that started in 2006.

Three bids were received for the initial development phase, and the Bluefin team was selected. Under phase two, Bluefin developed prototype systems. Those UUVs passed all testing, leading to the March contract award for procurement of EOD HULS.

Besides the platform itself, ONR is also involved in developing many of the sensors being used on EOD HULS, Swean said. "Some date from as far back as the early 1990s."

Explore further: Faster computation of electromagnetic interference on an electronic circuit board

Provided by Office of Naval Research

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

ONR-guided tech tracks what's inside ships

Apr 01, 2010

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) is funding emerging technology that will allow wireless surveillance not only of ships and aircraft, but also the tracking of people and high value assets inside the ships.

Engineers Deliver Robot to Neutralize Remote Explosives

Jul 21, 2005

Engineers from the Air Force Research Laboratory Materials and Manufacturing Directorate have rapidly prototyped, developed, and delivered low-cost expendable robots to disable and dispose of improvised explosive devices.

Recommended for you

A smart prosthetic knee with in-vivo diagnoses

Apr 22, 2014

The task was to develop intelligent prosthetic joints that, via sensors, are capable of detecting early failure long before a patient suffers. EPFL researchers have taken up the challenge.

Old tires become material for new and improved roads

Apr 22, 2014

(Phys.org) —Americans generate nearly 300 million scrap tires every year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Historically, these worn tires often end up in landfills or, when illegally ...

Students take clot-buster for a spin

Apr 21, 2014

(Phys.org) —In the hands of some Rice University senior engineering students, a fishing rod is more than what it seems. For them, it's a way to help destroy blood clots that threaten lives.

User comments : 0

More news stories

US urged to drop India WTO case on solar

Environmentalists Wednesday urged the United States to drop plans to haul India to the WTO to open its solar market, saying the action would hurt the fight against climate change.