ABSTRACT

There have been many discussions on the expansion of deserts and warming of the earth which may be caused by destruction of global environment. JAMSTEC has begun to conduct researches for the clarification of the mechanisms of circulation and perturbation of ocean. AUV systems have been understood as one of effective means to solve those unknowns. The plan of our AUV development has two steps. The fist step AUV (AUV-EX1; codename), named URASHIMA, has been built since 1998. The sea-going tests have been started since June 2000, and the tests will be continued for a few years. The equipment, the hardwear, and the softwear will be improved gradually during these years. The test goals of URASHIMA are 3,500m in depth, and 300km in cruising range. Most of AUV in the world are acoustic remotely operated ones, but not perfect autonomous ones. URASHIMA is developed to be a perfect autonomous one. After AUV-EX1, the second step AUV-EX2 that will have abilities to dive to 6,000m in depth, and to swim more than 5,000km in cruising range, will be started to build.

INTRODUCTION

ROVs (Remotely Operated Vehicles) have been valued as underwater TV watch devices, or work tools. But, cableless AUVs (Autonomous Underwater Vehicles) haven't gotten the enough appreciation yet. Recently, many discussions are made on the expansion of deserts and warming of the earth which may have been caused by destruction of global environment. The anomaly should be caused by the unbalance of heat or the interaction among atmosphere, ocean, etc. From this point of view, we are conducting researches for the clarification of the mechanisms of circulation and perturbation of ocean. Thinking the AUV systems are one of effective means to solve those subjects, we have begun to build a big AUV URASHIMA since 1998 (shown in figure 1).

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