Long-Range Coastal Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV)

March 26, 2013

auv with logo

The second semester of the third year of my Mechanical Engineering degree was a group design project. My group of six was tasked with the design of a coastal autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV). I was assigned design of the gliding sub-system (a long-range AUV it had to optimise energy use) and was also the business manager (as part of the project we were required to develop a business plan).

Design, leading to prototype construction, of a long-range, coastal autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV). The initial customer has specified deployment off the South coast of England, with a mission time of 6 weeks and cruise speed of 1ms-1. The AUV created will simply be the robot, with only the instrumentation required to operate. Although not incorporated in the design, space, weight and power allocation will be made for customer instrumentation. Additional to the specified customer, the AUV must form the basis of a start up company (SubBath Ltd.). Potential to expand beyond this specification through modular design is a prerequisite for the business plan. Initial desire for a biomimetic solution, presented in (1 [Feasibility Study]), was decided too much in its infancy for a two-year development. As such, a more conventional propeller driven gliding hybrid is perused.


  • Last for up to 8 weeks without customer technology.
  • Travel at 1m/s with burst speeds of 3m/s.
  • A modular design allowing the implementation of relevant instrumentation (12.5W continual usage per mission).
  • Hybrid between a glider and propeller propulsion systems.
  • 3m long hull with a wing span of 2.8m and 0.95m high. Can anchor in bad weather.

Concept MockUp

Design of the propulsion and gliding system required concepts and a comprehensive feasibility study. We adopted for a glider, using buoyancy manipulation to create lift across the wing and forward thrust, with props for steering. I designed the detachable wing system, optimum angle for forward propulsion, gliding system process and control system.

The project is best summarised by our final posters for the design exhibition.

AUV Poster 1

AUV Poster 2

AUV Poster 3

AUV Poster 4

Technical Report – Glider

Feasibility Study – Propulsion