Over the last three decades there has been a revolution in the development of underwater work systems This revolution started with mixed has diving and marined subs then moved on to ROVs Additionally over the last decade considerable progress has been made in introducing another platform, the autonomous marine vehicle Autonomous marine vehicle development has proceeded along two paths, namely air breathing semi-submersibles and a variety of fully submerged vehicles This paper reviews some of the missions performed to data and identifies future applications The paper concludes that enabling technologies exist to allow integration's to be produced which can support military, science and offshore petroleum mission In some cases the timing of specific developments may be speculative but the outcome is not in doubt


Nearly 100 years ago Nicholas Tesla wrote of his autonomous marine vehicle, "They will be produced capable of acting as if possessed of their own intelligence and their advent will create a revolution "

Although there have been examples of autonomous marine vehicles (AMV) since then, it has been dung the last decade and a half that the major vehicle development effort has been made These developments derive, in part, both from the underwater work system revolution which has been going on since the mid 60s as well as the computer revolution AMV developments have defined new ways to perform tasks as diverse as sampling for scientific missions to mine counter measures, from near the surface to the abyssal plains AMV missions have included hydrographic survey, data collection, test beds for sensors for certain defensive roles, university research and laying fiber optic cables Levels of activity in the development and use of autonomous marine vehicles is accelerating at a rate consistent with a revolution

Some AMVs have been called UUVs, others AUVs Dr Clark of the US National Science Foundation suggested that anything that goes in the water and carries a sensor is an AUV In fact they currently span the range from less than 1 meter to 12 meters and have diving depths from near surface to full ocean Obviously, in the future even larger vehicles will be built For military applications, radio remote controlled vehicles have made it possible to achieve standoffs exceeding several miles with UHF and anywhere in the world via satellite Large stand off can also be achieved with acoustic and fiber optic links large stand off obviously equates to reduced risk to personnel

Science Mission

In many of the scientific communities the lament has been there is not enough data This is sometimes true There is not only not enough, there's not enough where and when, or in some circles, spatial-temporal data Lower cost AUV platforms can be used to advantage here However, we need to define missions and also define what are realistic sampling rates? We have not properly established criterion to define what is over sampling and what is under sampling This is an important issue which has a major effect on cost

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