Design and Implementation of a Biomimetic Turtle Hydrofoil for an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle

Department of Computer Science and Industrial Engineering, University of Lleida, Jaume II, 69, Lleida 25001, Spain.
Sensors (Impact Factor: 2.25). 12/2011; 11(12):11168-87. DOI: 10.3390/s111211168
Source: PubMed


This paper presents the design and implementation of a turtle hydrofoil for an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV). The final design of the AUV must have navigation performance like a turtle, which has also been the biomimetic inspiration for the design of the hydrofoil and propulsion system. The hydrofoil design is based on a National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) 0014 hydrodynamic profile. During the design stage, four different propulsion systems were compared in terms of propulsion path, compactness, sealing and required power. The final implementation is based on a ball-and-socket mechanism because it is very compact and provides three degrees of freedom (DoF) to the hydrofoil with very few restrictions on the propulsion path. The propulsion obtained with the final implementation of the hydrofoil has been empirically evaluated in a water channel comparing different motion strategies. The results obtained have confirmed that the proposed turtle hydrofoil controlled with a mechanism with three DoF generates can be used in the future implementation of the planned AUV.


Available from: Tomàs Pallejà
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inspection and exploration of complex underwater structures requires the development of agile and easy to program platforms. In this paper, we describe a system that enables the deployment of an autonomous underwater vehicle in 3D environments proximal to the ocean bottom. Unlike many previous approaches, our solution: uses oscillating hydrofoil propulsion; allows for stable control of the robot's motion and sensor directions; allows human operators to specify detailed trajectories in a natural fashion; and has been successfully demonstrated as a holistic system in the open ocean near both coral reefs and a sunken cargo ship. A key component of our system is the 3D control of a hexapod swimming robot, which can move the vehicle through agile sequences of orientations despite challenging marine conditions. We present two methods to easily generate robot trajectories appropriate for deployments in close proximity to challenging contours of the sea floor. Both offline recording of trajectories using augmented reality and online placement of fiducial tags in the marine environment are shown to have desirable properties, with complementary strengths and weaknesses. Finally, qualitative and quantitative results of the 3D control system are presented.
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