Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Munitions and Explosives of Concern Detection System
The objective of this project is to demonstrate the effectiveness of a commercially manufactured magnetometer internally integrated in a modular autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) for use in underwater munitions detection. Magnetic signature characterization will be performed on the AUV to locate and quantify sources of magnetic noise generated from the platform and associated systems needed for vehicle propulsion and sensing. Characterization results support the development of magnetic compensation software for platform noise reduction. The magnetometer will be installed in the AUV's payload module and coupled to the power and logging system to merge magnetic measurements with heading, pitch, roll, position, time, etc. Once the system is fully integrated, advanced compensation optimization testing and software upgrades will further reduce noise from individual electrical components and magnetometer sensor orientation variation. The complete system will then be demonstrated to compare detection and cost performance to other underwater munitions detection systems.
The AUV Munitions and Explosives of Concern (MEC) Detection System integrates currently available, laboratory tested, off-the-shelf deployment and detection devices capable of performing wide area assessment (WAA) as well as focused digital geophysical mapping (DGM) surveys in underwater environments. Unlike most current underwater DGM systems, which are towed behind surface vessels, the AUV MEC Detection System will use an unmanned AUV equipped with a self-contained Geometrics G-823 style magnetometer and associated software developed to compensate for the modulation of the magnetic field due to platform noise primarily influenced by the onboard electrical propulsion system.
Subsequent to magnetic interference testing and compensation adjustment for noise cancellation, the magnetometer system will be integrated into a custom AUV payload module. Sensor data acquisition will be centrally managed by the AUV command module, which communicates with all onboard instrumentation. Due to the modular construction of the AUV, the system can be easily shipped using standard package carriers. Upon arrival at a munitions response project site, pre-planned mission information will be uploaded to the system operators to outline data collection metrics including speed, height above deck, and lane or transect spacing specifically designed to meet data quality objectives (DQOs) for the DGM survey. The AUV system is two- to three-person deployable from shore or by boat to maximize efficiency and avoid environmental challenges such as dense vegetation or strong currents that are dependent on site conditions. When the system completes its mission, data can be remotely downloaded via W-LAN and pre-processed using instrument-specific applications and exported for use in advanced signal processing platforms. Magnetic compensation data processing techniques will then be applied to lower the platform motion and electrical current induced noise.
The AUV also includes a global positioning system (GPS) and best available Doppler velocity log (DVL)-aided inertial navigation system (INS) for accurate navigation. In addition to the onboard magnetometer, the system will also have the ability to transport and synchronously operate digital video surveillance, bathymetric sonar, and side-scan sonar as needed for comprehensive underwater exploration and munitions response services.
The modular design, autonomous capabilities, and rapid deployment of the AUV MEC Detection System will improve ease of use and application in a broad range of environments as compared to current surface-based marine detection systems. This autonomous and self-contained system will provide cost savings over current surface vessel systems by reducing the mobilization and demobilization effort, requiring less manpower for operation, and reducing or eliminating the need for a surface support vessel altogether. In addition, the AUV survey production is expected to be greater than current systems because of its small size and efficient turn radius during focused DGM operations. (Anticipated Project Completion - 2012)
Points of Contact
Mr. Ryan Steigerwalt P.G.
Weston Solutions, Inc.
SERDP and ESTCP
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