This paper reviews the results of the Technology for Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (TUUV) program. It compares the initial objectives as stated in the program's prospectus with the published principle results.

The paper also reviews the status of each project with respect to the potential for commercialization of the research work.


The TUUV program is join Marine Technology Directorate (MTD) and industry-sponsored research and development program managed by the MTD. The sponsoring companies are Rockwater Ltd, Shell UK Exploration and Production, DTI Offshore Supplies Office, Defence Research Agency, Health and Safety Executive, Mobil North Sea Limited, Lockheed Aeronautical Systems Co, Simrad Osprey Ltd.

The program consists of 11 University research projects based at 5 universities with a total budget of approximately £14 million. The program started in 1992 and was completed in mid 1995. All the project are designed to further the development of unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV). The project falls into three broad categories, new project to investigate promising ideal, mid life project which require more investigation and well developed projects which need to be pushed nearer commercialization.

This paper reviews the results of the project as reported in the Executive Summary Report ref(1) and compares them to the objectives as set out in the Research Project Prospectus ref (2).

Initial Objectives

The overall objectives of the TUUV program were based on a two-part technical brief

  • Six typical missions

  • Pipeline survery

  • Offshore platform IRM

  • Wellhead and Satellite Wellhead IRM

  • Seabed Object Detection and Classification

  • Seabed Construction

  • Wet Salvage

  • An operational cycle

  • Lift off the deck of the support vessel

  • Deployment through the splash zone

  • Navigation to the work site

  • Navigation around the work site

  • Perform the work task

  • Return to the recovery point

  • Recover through the splash zone

  • Land on the supply vessel

Universities were invited to submit proposals aimed at improving the capability of unmanned vehicles in these areas 54 proposals were received, however restrictions in funding allowed only 11 to proceed.

Comparison Of Objective With Results

TUO1Techniques for the processing of side scan sonar from large data sets

This program is designed to improve the collection and storage of many types of data. It is the continuation of work started under the Automation of Subsea Tasks (AST)

Original Objectives

  • To develop new techniques to process the large data sets obtained from sidescan sonar surveys of the seabed

  • To establish a standard database of textures of the seabed from sidescan sonar surveys.

The TUUV Program

This project has achieved the first objective, and a data compression algorithm has been developed which compresses sidescan data with an average compression ratio of 100 1. The second objective was not achieved. However as in many research projects, several other objectives became obvious as the work developed.

  • To develop algorithms for delineating sediment boundaries from sidescan data records.

  • To ensure these algorithms are robust and operate in real time on IBM PC compatible machines

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