Tuesday, September 18, 2007

With an ultimate range up to 1000 km, a maximum operating depth of 6000 m, and a
generous payload capacity of 0.5 m3, Autosub6000 will be one of the world’s most
capable deep diving science Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV). It is scheduled
for deep water trials on the RRS Discovery in September 2007, after which it will be
available for science missions. We encourage proposals for the use of Autosub6000 from
2008 onwards. We envisage its use in a wide variety of missions, for example : overflow
and exchanges across sills, abyssal circulation + mixing, Southern Ocean mixing
processes, ocean ridge, marine census, canyons and sea-mounts, ocean margins benthic
communities, gas hydrate surveys.

Autosub6000 is the latest 6000 m rated version of the Autosub AUV series, which has
been used extensively for ocean science during the last 10 years, including work under
ice operations in the Arctic and Antarctic. The design of the nose and tail sections,
including the navigation and control systems, are substantially inherited from the tried
and tested Autosub3. The main difference is the depth rating (6000m rather than 1600m),
and the energy system (Lithium Polymer rechargeable batteries rather than primary
manganese alkaline cells).

Dimensions 5.5 m long, 0.9 m diameter
Mass 2000 kg (Dry), 2800 kg (Wet).
Range, endurance 1000 km at 1 m/s (8.6 days). 400 km at 1.6 m/s. (2.9 days).
The 2007 version will have 50% of this range.
Depth capability 6000 m maximum.
Navigation 0.1% of distance travelled since last GPS or USBL fix.
Telemetry and
Linkquest TrackLink 10000 USBL and bidirectional telemetry system.
Control Modes Constant depth, constant altitude (5 to 200m), profiling.
Recharge time 5 hours from fully exhausted lithium polymer battery pack.
Standard Sensor
300 kHz RDI Workhorse ADCP. Fitting of Seabird 911 CTD be requested
from NMFD.
There are plans to fit a Mulitbeam system by August 2008.
Payload Capacity Similar to Autosub3. Large (0.5 m3) volumes free in the nose area for
Power for sensors Up to 250 Watts at 48 volt.
Data Handling 100 M bit s-1 TP Ethernet .200 G byte data storage. IEEE 802.11g WiFi for
data download.
Shipping One standard 20 foot shipping containers. Launch and recovery gantry.

A titanium tube housing the Inertial
Navigation Unit (IXSEA-PHINS), a 300 kHz
RDI ADCP, and a high performance Thales
GPS receiver. We are developing navigation
algorithms, involving processing of imaging
or multibeam data, which, for area survey
missions in deep water, will maintain GPS
quality accuracy over periods of several days.

Monday, June 11, 2007

New Armed Robot Groomed for War

The company behind the only armed robots in Iraq is rolling out a new model of gun-toting machine, built from the start for combat. DANGER ROOM has exclusive pictures and footage.

During the early days of the Iraq war, the roboteers at Foster-Miller modified their bomb-disposal machines, to have them carry machine guns, grenade launchers, or rockets.

After years of safety testing and modifications, three of these deadly SWORDS ("special weapons observation remote reconnaissance direct action system") robots were recently sent to Iraq.

But even now, safety concerns (among other reasons) have kept those machines from firing a shot in combat. But Foster-Miller is already rolling a new model of armed robot — one that’s comes with additional extra, built-in precautions, and has been designed from the beginning to fight.

MAARS (Modular Advanced Armed Robotic System) features new software controls, which allow the robot’s driver to select fire and no-fire zones. The idea is keep the robots from accidentally shooting a flesh-and-blood American. A mechanical range fan also keeps MAARS’ gun pointed away from friendly positions.

The robot is also equipped with a GPS transmitter, so it can be seen on — and tap into — the American battlefield mapping programs, just like tanks and Humvees. These "Blue Force Trackers" have been credited with dramatically reducing friendly-fire incidents during the Iraq war. MAARS comes with an extra fail-safe, which won’t allow it to fire directly at its own control unit.

Nor does the robot always have to carry a gun. A mechanical arm can be swapped "in a couple of minutes" for the weapon, according to MARRS program manager Charles Dean, a retired Army Lt. Colonel. Which means the robot could be used for "inspecting IEDs, opening doors, even dragging casualties."

The tracks can also be removed, and changed out for wheels; better for urban operations, perhaps. Combined with a lower center of gravity, Dean believes the MAARS will be about 50% faster than its predecessors, which rumbled over streets at 5 miles per hour.

See more details at http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2007/10/tt-tt/...