Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV)
Within MOSES, GEOMAR will acquire two AUVs of the type Girona 500 developed by the “Robotics Group” at the Institute of Computer Vision and Robotics (VICOROB), University of Girona in Spain.
The Girona 500 is an unmanned, wireless underwater robot and able to “hover” which means it can hold its position and depth within the water column - similar to a helicopter - and does not require a minimum speed to stay at a certain water depth. Like all other AUVs, the Girona 500 works without a permanent connection to its base (e.g. a research vessel) and follows a pre-defined mission programme either close to the seafloor or within the water column.
The AUV is equipped with four underwater propulsion systems (thrusters) and a number of other sensors (e.g. a pressure sensor, a Doppler-Velocity-Log (DVL) and a position sensor) which combined enable the underwater orientation of the vehicle. The pressure sensor is used to determine the water depth, whereas the DVL constantly measures the altitude of the AUV above the seafloor as well as the survey velocity, the so-called speed over ground (SOG). The position sensor allows the AUV to determine its relative position and orientation under water.
The Girona 500 is able to carry a great variety of instruments and measurement tools such as cameras, a side-scan sonar system (SSS) or multibeam echosounder systems (MBES) for hydroacoustic 2D and 3D seafloor mapping, respectively. In addition, the AUV also records and stores all data collected from these instruments, which can then be downloaded once the AUV has completed its mission and returned to its base.