Lightweight Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (LAUV) Lupis has been purchased from OceanScan – Marine Systems and Technology, Lda. The LAUV system was originally developed by the Underwater Systems and Technology Laboratory (LSTS) from the Porto University and has been further developed in cooperation with OceanScan – Marine Systems & Technology, Lda. The complete LAUV system includes all the equipment required to communicate with the vehicle, the command and control software, external aids for navigation, and a set of optional devices to facilitate operation.
The LAUV (Light Autonomous Underwater Vehicle) is a lightweight, modular platform prepared to integrate a set of different sensors and sonars. The vehicle is targeted at cost-effective oceanographic, environmental and inspection surveys to fulfill a wide range of applications.
The vehicle’s structural design was developed to achieve a solution able to deal with the delicate balance of weight, buoyancy, space for payload, flexibility for installation of new equipment and robustness. Traditional materials such as aluminum and polyacetal are used to implement most of the parts. Stainless steel is also used for the parts subject to wear and stress. Special urethanes are used to mold rubber parts like the antenna mast and fins. The location and orientation of each part within the vehicle cylinder were designed to achieve the lowest center of gravity as possible and to minimize electrical and magnetic interferences between components.
LAUV Lupis Sections and Components
The nose section is an assembly of modules made in polyacetal and is free-flooding. It serves as a mounting platform for several sensors, sonars and transducers that have to be in direct contact with the water. Devices that are installed in the nose section are:
(1) Environmental sensors (CTD, sound speed, fluorescence, turbidity...),
(2) Emergency pinger,
(3) Forward looking sonar,
(4) Acoustic transducers (LBL and Acoustic modem),
(5) Illumination module, and
(6) Multi-beam echo-sounder
The main hull is a watertight compartment composed by the base cylinder, where the batteries, most of the electronic boards and specific (optional) modules like the DVL and/or the camera module are installed. Components that are installed inside the main hull are:
(7) DVL (Doppler Velocity Log),
(8) IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit),
(9) Acoustic Modem (Electronics),
(10) On-board CPU & solid-state hard disk,
(12) Communication and Navigation boards (Wi-Fi, GPS, GSM, Iridium, Compass), and
(13) Camera .
Components that are externally mounted in the main hull are:
(14) Ballast weights,
(16) Side Scan Sonar transducers,
(17) Flexible antennas mast (Wi-Fi, GPS, GSM, Iridium), and
(18) Batteries charging connector.
The tail section contains the actuators that control the vehicle’s propulsion and steering. The propulsion is provided by a three-phase brushless motor controlled by a dedicated digital motor controller with full control of speed both in forward and reverse directions. Motion transmission between the motor output shaft and the propeller is accomplished through a permanent magnetic coupling, drastically reducing friction losses and ensuring absolute water tightness.
Four fins are mounted externally to the tail section. The vertical fins control the vehicle’s heading (yaw), and the horizontal fins control the vehicle’s depth (pitch). All fins are controlled independently, providing active roll control for stabilized tilted operation. The fins are made of a flexible urethane to improve shock absorption, protecting the servomotors. If damaged, the fins may be easily replaced. Components that are part of the tail section are:
(19) Thruster and controllers,
(20) Magnetic coupling,
(21) Flexible fins,