Development of a long-range gliding unmanned underwater vehicle utilizing Java Sun SPOT technology
Hemmelgarn, Ronald J.
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The future of U.S. Naval Operations can be described by a simple system of requirements and constraints. Increasing the diversity and scope of mission requirements, while being constrained by decreasing budget resources, requires some form of equalization to maintain a constant rate of successful mission fulfillment. The solution to this system can be found in unmanned vehicle development. The most recent revision of the Navy Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (UUV) Master Plan outlined the need to develop a cost-effective, flexible program by maximizing modularity and commonality of UUVs. This thesis investigates the convergence of three main areas of UUV development; mission flexibility, modular control systems, and hardware in-the-loop testing and analysis. This work also evaluates the feasibility of a potential solution to support those objectives. Hardware-in-the-loop simulation and testing of embedded systems is a proven method for effectively testing complex systems, helping to reduce the risks of developing or deploying an ineffective costly system. An innovative glider design by the University of Toulon, France is the subject of this study. Unlike most rigid-hull gliders, the scalable free-flood volume of this vehicle holds the promise of carrying significant payload as long as overall buoyancy remains neutral. The research and development described in this thesis utilizes an existing planning and simulation tool, combined with an improved low-cost embedded-system robot controller, to test and evaluate a new free-flood, long-range gliding underwater vehicle. This proposed solution utilizes both open-source hardware and software solutions to design a prototype gliding underwater vehicle. Further work is needed to demonstrate the efficiency and effectiveness of this design.
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