The autonomous underwater vehicle project is in its fourth year at University of Maine. Last year included the development of a new electronic control system which can be programmed in Labview. This project has now developed where sensors can be added to the system for a mission to be completed before the end of the year. This is an interesting project that exists at the border between electrical engineering, computer science and mechanical engineering.
It is expected that the team this year will spend a lot of time getting wet and learning about controls and optimization of mechanical systems for robotic applications. The mission for the competition has not yet been announced but the performance envelope is well known from previous projects. This year will start with work on more fully integrating the system and setting of the submarine to follow a programmed path. In order to have a successful year (and get a good grade) a mission will be completed during the year which will show that the submarine is a tool for use in tending equipment and exploring the oceans.
The proposed first semester mission is to do a programmed path, surface travel, dive, travel, turn and move a path of up and downward movement. This will be in support of the controls program for the human powered submarine where the AUV will tow their dummy system. In the second semester, it is proposed that a camera be used as a data acquisition system with a frame grabber to plan and execute a path. The existing sensor array (compass and magnetometer) should be used as guides for both the initial and continuing missions.
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