An autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) is a robot that travels underwater without requiring input from an operator.AUVs constitute part of a larger group of undersea systems known as unmanned underwater vehicles,a classification that includes non-autonomousremotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs)–controlled and powered from the surface by an operator/pilot via an umbilical or using remote control.In military applications a AUV is more often referred to as unmanned undersea vehicle (UUV).Underwater gliders are a subclass of AUVs.
The first AUV was developed at the Applied Physics Laboratory at the University of Washington as early as 1957 by Stan Murphy,Bob Francois and later on, Terry Ewart.The "Special Purpose Underwater Research Vehicle",or SPURV,was used to study diffusion, acoustic transmission,and submarine wakes.
Other early AUVs were developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the 1970s.One of these is on display in the Hart Nautical Gallery in MIT.At the same time,AUVs were also developed in the Soviet Union(although this was not commonly known until much later).
Until relatively recently, AUVs have been used for a limited number of tasks dictated by the technology available.With the development of more advanced processing capabilities and high yield power supplies,AUVs are now being used for more and more tasks with roles and missions constantly evolving.
The oil and gas industry uses AUVs to make detailed maps of the seafloor before they start building subsea infrastructure；pipelines and sub sea completions can be installed in the most cost effective manner with minimum disruption to the environment.The AUV allows survey companies to conduct precise surveys of areas where traditional bathymetric surveys would be less effective or too costly.Also,post-lay pipe surveys are now possible,which includes pipeline inspection.The use of AUVs for pipeline inspection and inspection of underwater man-made structures is becoming more common.
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