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AUV Technology Aids Ecosystem Investigation

The academic sector together with the industrial sector is collaboratively generating an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) technology for the constant vigilance of marine ecosystems in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico especially in the BP oil spill blast area.

The AUV researchers from Bluefin Robotics Corporation are uniting with the experts from Florida Atlantic University (FAU) for advancing a research and development unit at the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (HBOI) of FAU in Fort Pierce so as to encourage the Bluefin Spray Glider AUV, for creating an intensive field existence in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic areas for continuous monitoring and information collection.

The Bluefin Spray is a submerging, free-floating unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) which gathers information about the water column employing a  conductivity-temperature-depth (CTD) sensor, which is of the pumped oceanographic standard, and other equipments. The glider enhances its floatability by shifting mineral oil which is of food-grade between the payload flooded compartment and its pressure hull thereby transforming the upright buoyancy into forward movement by a pair of wings enabling the vehicle to float along a dive profile which is in the form of a saw-tooth as deep as 5,000 feet. The Spray can be utilized for more than six months and many Spray Gliders have already been in use in the Gulf of Mexico by several other oceanographic teams.

According to Jeff Smith, director of programs, Bluefin Robotics, the Spray can be deployed for persistent monitoring due to its strength and mandatory depth.


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