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Modelling and CFD Simulation of a Micro Autonomous Underwater Vehicle SEMBIO


Abstract and Figures

The design of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) is very complex due to high demands of the marine environment such as depth range, endurance, payload, and energy efficiency. The hull design and its hydrodynamic resis- tance is one of the most important factors directly affecting power requirements and the maneuverability of the vehicle. The minimizing of the hydrodynamic resistance of AUVs leads to high energy efficiency. This abstract presents and focuses on the hydrodynamic analysis and fluid flow simulation of the SEMBIO AUV using computational fluid dynamic (CFD). The SEMBIO design was mainly inspired by the hydrodynamic features of a guitarfish. To complete the processes of study, SolidWorks software was employed to establish a three-dimensional (3D) model for the CFD simulation, ANSYS Fluent software was used to analyze the SEMBIO model to get comparative data about hydrodynamic properties. Finally, a comparison was carried out between SEMBIO AUV and MONSUN AUV design. The results illustrated that hydrodynamic properties and resistance forces of SEMBIO surpassed those of MONSUN.
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Modelling and CFD Simulation of a Micro
Autonomous Underwater Vehicle SEMBIO
Ammar Amory and Erik Maehle
University of Luebeck - Institute of Computer Engineering
Luebeck, Germany
Email: amory,
Abstract—The design of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles
(AUV) is very complex due to high demands of the marine
environment such as depth range, endurance, payload, and
energy efficiency. The hull design and its hydrodynamic resis-
tance is one of the most important factors directly affecting
power requirements and the maneuverability of the vehicle. The
minimizing of the hydrodynamic resistance of AUVs leads to
high energy efficiency. This paper presents and focuses on the
hydrodynamic analysis and fluid flow simulation of the SEMBIO
micro AUV using computational fluid dynamic (CFD). The SEM-
BIO design was mainly inspired by the hydrodynamic features
of a guitarfish. To complete the processes of study, SolidWorks
software was employed to establish a three-dimensional (3D)
model for the CFD simulation, ANSYS Fluent software was used
to analyze the SEMBIO model to get comparative data about
hydrodynamic properties. Finally, a comparison was carried out
between SEMBIO AUV and the more traditional MONSUN AUV
design. The results illustrated that hydrodynamic properties and
resistance forces of SEMBIO surpassed those of MONSUN.
In recent years, the interest of using autonomous underwater
vehicles (AUV) in a wide range of applications and researches
of marine environment has been growing [1]. The design and
construction of micro AUVs is a very promising solution
to meet the different requirements of an AUV that aims to
be employed in swarm applications, it is small and easy to
handle as well as low cost, in addition, micro AUVs allow
the exploration of confined spaces. Several parameters of the
AUV design remain fixed such as drag, which is related to the
underwater fluid flow. The hull shape of the robot is designed
to be appropriate to the application requirements. Typically,
most common AUVs use a torpedo shape and streamline
hull that is used in high speeds [2]. An other type is non
torpedo shape that is used mostly in remotely operated vehicles
(ROVs) and for some special AUVs, which are usually used
for shorter duration missions or the inspection of other large
bodies underwater such as icebergs or dams [3].
The advantages of a streamline hull motivated a lot of
researchers to study the hydrodynamic characteristics of un-
derwater robots. The researchers have worked to evaluate op-
timum designs of AUVs in order to improve the performance
on water resistance. Some works have considered designing
different mechanical structures that will provide optimal hy-
drodynamic characteristics of a hull shape to minimize the
drag force [4]. Moreover, the streamlined hull is intended to
improve the energy efficiency of the vehicle by reducing the
Fig. 1. The SEMBIO micro AUV is small and streamline-shaped and is fully
actuated with six thrusters that allow forward and vertical movement.
drag. In addition, a number of works have developed a special
shape such as fish-like, dish shape, or spherical underwater
robots to achieve the adequate hull form design. In this regard,
an important tool in the recent years, Computational Fluid
Dynamics (CFD), plays an important role in AUV design [5].
The CFD analysis has been used extensively in underwater
vehicle design, since it can analyze the flow field around the
hull and helps to understand the complex physics of the flow
phenomena. It provides the designer with a visualization of the
flow field, which is difficult and requires a long time to obtain
by field experiments. Furthermore, CFD simulation supports
the designer in testing and proves a different model of hull
shape form a previously produced first prototype model for
This paper presents the streamlined design of the pressure
hull, which constitutes the main vehicle body in which every
component and electronic device is enclosed, and the 3D draw-
ings created with the CAD software SolidWorks. Furthermore,
the paper is focused on minimizing the hydrodynamic resis-
tance of our SEMBIO AUV to obtain high energy efficiency
which leads to less installed power and longer endurance. It
was achieved by designing a streamline-shaped hull that was
inspired by the hydrodynamic features of a guitarfish.
This paper is structured as follows. Section II describes
the 3D modelling for CFD analysis of SEMBIO. Section III
describes the preprocessing steps for CFD analysis to generate
the mesh model of the robot. Section IV characterizes the
main hydrodynamic parameters of SEMBIO and analyses its
motions in detail based on CFD, in addition, a comparison
between the hydrodynamic analysis of SEMBIO and the
torpedo shaped AUV MONSUN is made. Finally, Section V
and VI summarizes our conclusions and future work.
The SEMBIO AUV is a small and an inexpensive AUV for
monitoring and inspection tasks in coastal and inland aquatic
areas (see Figure 1). SEMBIO is intended to be hand-sized,
and is focused towards being developed for AUV swarms with
a swarm capability that is characterized by cost-effectiveness,
robustness, and energy-efficiency. For the latter, SEMBIO is
e.g. provided with a solar and energy management system
(SEMS) to increase the mission time [6].
In this study, the selection of the guitarfish as a bio-inspired
model is justified on the following grounds. The guitarfish has
a highly effective forward propulsion thanks to the geometric
shape of its front part, particularly the shovel-shaped nose,
as well as a low-drag profile, as its body and fins have a
streamlined shape (see Figure 2) [7]. Its size also makes the
guitarfish a suitable inspiration, which is usually between 75
cm (similar to the size of a micro AUV of <1 m) and
170 cm long. The guitarfish differs from other species of
fish in that it does not need to move its body as it swims,
owing to the flatness and large size of its body (its swimming
thus resembles an underwater flight); this makes it a good
model for the design of a surface that can carry various
instruments such as sensors (i.e., payload) for exploring the
aquatic environment.
The 3D modelling of SEMBIO from the first drawing to
the end-outcome was achieved with the help of the SolidWorks
software, which is useful, as it allows alterations to be brought
to the model. The development of the 3D model was based
on a subjective ”resemblance” to capture the main features
and measurements of the guitarfish morphology. The SEMBIO
model was given the same dimensions as a guitarfish of small
size at 70 ×27 ×10 cm. The final version was achieved
after extensive effort, and is illustrated in Figure 3. This AUV
robot assembly consists of the vehicle body, upper cover,
front enclosure, and six thrusters (four vertically and two
horizontally) as propulsion system. More detailed information
concerning the architecture of SEMBIO’s power system, main
controller, depth control, and software can be found in [6],
Fig. 2. The frontal part of the shovelnose guitarfish.
Fig. 3. Representation of the SEMBIO model in 3D based on SolidWorks
Fig. 4. The MONSUN AUV designed for swarm applications such as
environmental monitoring tasks
A. Preprocessing and Geometry
Improvement and optimization of the 3D shape model were
achieved via CFD simulations, which were useful for the
assessment of the hydrodynamic properties of the proposed
vehicle and also provided guidelines for enhancing its design.
Meanwhile, the investigation and analysis of MONSUN have
also been significantly beneficial for the SEMBIO design in
terms of ensuring that design errors and ambiguities were
avoided. MONSUN as shown in Figure 4 is another swarm-
capable micro AUV which is developed at our Institute [9].
The full-scale geometrical 3D SEMBIO model was im-
ported into ANSYS Fluent in the SolidWorks format. The
chosen CFD solver was ANSYS Fluent to afford a central
role of ANSYS in the AUV design, enabling the execution
and visualization of recent CFD results. In ANSYS Fluent,
SEMBIO was fixed in a rectangular domain, which was built
and added for a water flow field. The dimensions of the pool
were 1 m×1 m×2 m to ensure that there was sufficient space
for a dynamic fluid flow (see Figure 5 and 6). MONSUN was
also examined in the same context for comparative purposes.
B. Mesh Generation
A very important factor in hydrodynamics analysis is the
flow field mesh. This is because the amount of mesh deter-
mines how well the hydrodynamics analysis performs and how
complex the computation is. As such, prior to commencing the
analysis, mesh smoothing was undertaken and the 3D model
was simplified prior to meshing. For instance, to make the
mesh simpler and to improve its quality, elements such as
motors and bolts were disregarded. As illustrated in Figure 7,
ANSYS Fluent with CFD-Mesh was employed to carry out
Fig. 5. Computerized representation of the flow domain associated with
Fig. 6. Computerized representation of the flow domain associated with
the meshing procedure. Prior to initiating the CFD simulation,
it was necessary to define the face spacing that dictated the
surface area of the mesh that came into contact with the
surface of SEMBIO. The dimensions of face spacing had
to be sufficiently small to capture the SEMBIO geometry.
Furthermore, on the SEMBIO surface, the number of inflation
layers increased. The same work was suitably applicable to
MONSUN, with the results being presented in Figure 8.
Fig. 7. The SEMBIO mesh represented in 3D
C. Setup and Solving
The commercial CFD analysis code (CFD solver) was em-
ployed to model and solve the fluid flow surrounding the SEM-
BIO on the basis of ANSYS Fluent. For the purpose of these
calculations, the flow field and water pressure surrounding the
SEMBIO body were determined based on the motion mod-
eling of the fluid with the incompressible, isothermal RANS
(Reynolds-averaged NavierStokes) equations. These equations
are employed in the majority of studies due to the fact that,
Fig. 8. The MONSUN mesh represented in 3D
by comparison to the potential flow theory, they provide a
better treatment of viscous effects. The equations comprise a
standard solution of the ensemble-averaged, steady-state, and
3D Navier-Stokes equations characterizing the properties of
the flow, like velocity, pressure, temperature, and density. In
the present case, to enable the closure of the RANS system of
equations by ANSYS Fluent, the kωturbulence model was
selected, with kand ωrespectively denoting the turbulence
kinetic energy and the viscous dissipation rate. This model
helps to anticipate how the turbulence and flow behave around
the hull, and its selection for the purposes of the project was
justified, as it is a widely employed turbulence model for
engineering simulations that is robust and can be applied to
different flows. Furthermore, the computation time was cut by
using the symmetry condition. Table I presents an overview of
the requirements for the pre-processing stage, including mesh
Object Name Mesh
Water Domain size 1m×1m×2m
Turbulence model kωmodel
Reynolds number 22.47 ×105
AUV Dimensions 0.7m×0.1m×0.27m
Total no. of elements (nodes) 1,819,692 (334,157)
The hull design was improved many times, with the final
results being based on driving in forward direction at a speed
of 1 m/s. ANSYS Fluent was employed to perform every step
of the vehicle’s hull analysis. Hence, CFD post-processing
from ANSYS Fluent supplied comprehensive data related to
the velocity and pressure distribution surrounding both SEM-
BIO and MONSUN. The streamline of the SEMBIO shape
and the movement and contact of the fluid flow within the
domain are presented in Figure 9. For comparison purposes,
Figure 10 presents the fluid flow of MONSUN.
As is shown in Figure 11, the pressure distribution surround-
ing SEMBIO is homogeneous, apart from a few tiny points.
The interaction between the fluid and SEMBIO is the reason
for the occurrence of maximal pressure, denoted by the red
Fig. 9. Illustration of the fluid flow during the CFD analysis of SEMBIO
Fig. 10. Illustration of the fluid flow during the CFD analysis of MONSUN
color, at the tip of the nose of the vehicle and on the side
edge of each thruster ring. Such areas of maximal pressure
are so few that they are almost insignificant. In the other parts
of the SEMBIO surface, the pressure is not as high and is
more or less uniform due to the smooth flow. Thus, SEMBIO
demonstrates a good hydrodynamic performance thanks to the
smooth streamline and balanced pressure distribution.
The pressure distribution surrounding MONSUN is shown
in Figure 12. It can be seen that maximal pressure occurs over
the whole tip of the nose, while minimal pressure, denoted by
Fig. 11. The distribution of pressure on the surface of the hull of SEMBIO
Fig. 12. The distribution of pressure on the surface of the hull of MONSUN
the blue color, occurs at the edge of the windward side of each
fin. A compression dysfunction is generated by the pressure
difference on the fins.
As presented in Figure 13, the velocity associated with
SEMBIO was measured over the entire cross-section of the
hull. It decreased slightly at the tip of the nose and subse-
quently increased and was maintained to the end of the hull,
where it decreased again at the starting point of the tail curve.
For comparative purposes, the Figure 14 illustrates the velocity
results of MONSUN.
Fig. 13. The distribution of velocity around the SEMBIO hull at a speed of
1 m/s
According to the velocity results, by comparison to MON-
SUN, the velocity of SEMBIO around the hull was greater
(1.164 vs 1.172). Figure 14 shows the flow behind each fin,
which was not present in SEMBIO, the latter generating a
lower proportion of drag due to its higher velocity. An identical
pattern of an increasing velocity across the bow curvature and
the curve of the tail section as well as a reduction in velocity
at the bow tip and tail end was exhibited by every type of
hull. The vehicle noses differed significantly between the two
models, the spot being greater on MONSUN compared to
SEMBIO and most likely causing a rise in drag.
The shape and speed of a body moving underwater deter-
mines the drag forces acting on that body. The drag force
Fig. 14. The distribution of velocity around the MONSUN hull at a speed
of 1 m/s
(water resistance) Fdcan be simulated and determined by
ANSYS Fluent based on a given velocity for movement in
the horizontal direction. More specifically, the amount of
force needed by a vehicle to attain a particular speed can be
determined by ANSYS Fluent. The following equation permits
the calculation of the drag coefficient Cd, which represents
a key hydrodynamic feature and is an important factor to
measure the drag force of the interactions between a vehicle
and fluid, and thus determines the hydrodynamic parameters
of the vehicle.
where, the density of the liquid is represented by ρ, the
velocity of the body is denoted by v, the reference area (the
cross-sectional area) is denoted by A.
The value obtained for the drag coefficient associated with
the horizontal movement was 0.12. This value suggests that
SEMBIO has a more streamlined shape than MONSUN, as
the latter’s Cdwas 0.48. ANSYS Fluent was also used to
determine Fdassociated with movement in a horizontal direc-
tion, which in turn was needed to obtain the thrust force FT
for SEMBIO (Table II). In addition to theoretical calculations,
the determination of FTalso was done by empirical work
on the SEMBIO hull. Thus the empirical work involved the
submersion of SEMBIO at a depth of 0.5 m in a swimming
pool and a simple and approximate method was employed
to measure the force required to thrust SEMBIO in a forward
direction, with subsequent measurement of the speed. Table III
provides the values of the drag force yielded by these exper-
iments. As can be seen, there was no significant difference
between CFD and empirical results. However, there were two
factors that may have impacted the results: the fact that the
empirical method employed was simple and possibly prone to
measurement errors and waves in the swimming pool.
According to the CFD results, to reach a speed of
1 m/s, a minimum of 5.44 N had to be generated by
the horizontal thruster. In the case of MONSUN, a
drag force value of 7.06 N was indicated by ANSYS
Fluent as being necessary to move the vehicle in a
horizontal direction at a speed of 1 m/s. However, it is
not very reasonable to compare the two vehicles from this
perspective, since they differ in terms of cross-section
(SEMBIO = 0.01685 m2; MONSUN =
0.015531 m2) and 3D surface area
(SEMBIO = 0.34 m2; MONSUN = 0.29 m2). In other
words, in comparison to MONSUN, SEMBIO had a volume
that was 1.2 times larger, yet the results still turned out in
favor of SEMBIO. Furthermore, MONSUN was transferred
from real life into SolidWorks, and the real MONSUN was
closely approximated in the drawings. It was drawn on the
basis of a Myring form [10] that does not match exactly with
reality, i.e. the drawn MONSUN is not an accurate reflection
of the real MONSUN. In spite of these considerations,
however, the comparative analysis still highlighted that the
SEMBIO design is more advantageous and superior compared
Drag force-CFD results 1.95 3.41 4.48 5.44 6.52
Speed (m/s) 0.25 0.5 0.75 1.0 1.25
Drag force exp. results 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 4.9 5.8
Speed (m/s) 0.20 0.32 0.41 0.52 0.60 0.72 1.0
This paper presents the 3D modelling of the SEMBIO AUV
that was implemented by SolidWorks, and a computational
fluid dynamic model that was built and conducted using the
ANSYS Fluent software. As a result of the CFD analysis,
pressure and velocity distributions over the AUV bodies were
obtained. CFD simulations also provided information on the
water flow around the AUVs, and drag forces were obtained as
well. The CFD results indicated that the streamlined SEMBIO
hull has a smaller drag coefficient than the torpedo shaped
MONSUN hull, which leads SEMBIO to consume less energy
or showing a higher energy efficiency.
For future work, we should search for more accurate and
realistic numerical CFD simulation model of SEMBIO when it
is swimming in different types of motions like turning, diving
or any other motion, also in different turbulence models. In
addition, we will conduct the same study at different flow
speeds, e.g. 0.5,2.5and 4m/s for a broader comparison.
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Underwater vehicles are actively used in many application areas. It is available in unmanned underwater vehicles that can be controlled remotely, as well as vehicles capable of operating autonomously. Unmanned underwater vehicles; It is involved in areas such as search and rescue, underwater reconnaissance and observation, military applications. The main parts found in underwater vehicles are the frame body, thrusters, sealed compartment, battery, or power source. Thrusters directly affect the mobility of the vehicle and give direction to important parameters. While the degree of freedom may vary as a result of thrust arrays, the thrust force also plays a decisive role in parameters such as the maximum speed that the vehicle can reach. In this study, two methods that can be used in the calculation of thrust force in the computer-aided analysis program of thrusters used in underwater vehicles are emphasized. The two situations were analyzed independently of each other and the resulting thrust force values were calculated. The thrust force values in the two cases, which were formed as a result of computational fluid dynamics analysis, were compared with each other. It was found that the results of both methods gave almost the same results with a difference of less than 1%. The propeller and nozzle parts of the thrusters used during the study are original designs and produced from a 3D printer. The thrusters, whose production has been completed, are integrated into the underwater vehicle designed for use in studies. As a result of the study, it was found that the thrust force generated in the thrusters can be used in two methods of calculation, regardless of which method is used, the value found will be very close or the same as the value to be calculated by the other method.
This paper inspects the use of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analyses in order to obtain various hydrodynamic characteristics of an observation class remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). This is accomplished by comparing the thrust generated from CFD analyses with the thrust measured from experimental results. Hence, analyses are conducted using ANSYS FLUENT solver, for steady state linear motion of the ROV at different speeds, while considering the rotational motion of propeller. Subsequently, few of the most commonly used turbulence models and methods for simulating propeller motion are compared. As a result, the k-w (omega) shear stress transport (SST) model for turbulence, with moving reference frame (MRF) approach for propeller motion is used in this study. The paper also goes over a simple and low-cost test Jig that was used to measure the thrust produced. This paper also briefly describes the process of 3D printing the propellers used in this study.
In the present paper, flow characteristics of an Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) with a commonly used Myring profile were investigated numerically and experimentally using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and the Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) technique under the influence of free surface. The 3-D and two-phase flow simulation generated using the Volume of Fluid (VOF) were carried out using the Large Eddy Simulation (LES) turbulence model for high accuracy in both near free-surface and almost uniform flow conditions. Due to the presence of the free-surface effect, dynamics and unsteady instantaneous flow characteristics such as force and moment coefficients, streamlines topology, and pressure values on the body surface along with vorticity structures were found to be very chaotic and have irregular motion in the wake while the followable variation trend of the time-averaged properties was obtained to show critical immersion ratio. The immersion ratios of 0.75≤ h/D≤3.50 were examined at Reynolds numbers Re = 2.0 × 10⁴ and 4.0 × 10⁴. Jet-like flow between the UUV body and the free surface of the water was detected at the immersion ratio of h/D = 0.75, which caused a substantial asymmetry in flow structures, resulting in highest drag and lift values. Increased surface disturbance at Re = 4.0 × 10⁴ caused air introduction into via jet-like flow in h/D = 0.75, which caused positive lift. Hydrodynamic coefficients and isosurfaces shown that the free-surface effect decreased significantly up to h/D = 1.50 at constant Reynolds numbers. Further investigation of time-averaged velocity components, streamlines, vorticity and turbulence statistics revealed that h/D = 1.50 acted as a transitional immersion ratio as the flow structure changed significantly with Reynolds numbers. The utilized CFD approach yielded especially excellent agreement with the PIV measurements with the discrepancy which varies from 1% to 15% in near wake for streamwise velocity components to simulate the essential unmeasured flow features needed in the research and development process of UUVs when they move below the free surface.
The 4-volume set LNAI 13013 – 13016 constitutes the proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Intelligent Robotics and Applications, ICIRA 2021, which took place in Yantai, China, during October 22-25, 2021. The 299 papers included in these proceedings were carefully reviewed and selected from 386 submissions. They were organized in topical sections as follows: Robotics dexterous manipulation; sensors, actuators, and controllers for soft and hybrid robots; cable-driven parallel robot; human-centered wearable robotics; hybrid system modeling and human-machine interface; robot manipulation skills learning; micro_nano materials, devices, and systems for biomedical applications; actuating, sensing, control, and instrumentation for ultra-precision engineering; human-robot collaboration; robotic machining; medical robot; machine intelligence for human motion analytics; human-robot interaction for service robots; novel mechanisms, robots and applications; space robot and on-orbit service; neural learning enhanced motion planning and control for human robot interaction; medical engineering.
Autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) have been widely used in many aspects of the underwater world for their autonomy and robust flexibility. However, the dynamic performance of the small AUVs is strongly affected by hydrodynamic effects. In this work, based on a novel designed small AUV, we conduct a hydrodynamic coefficients estimation work by adopting the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) method. Firstly, the resistance to AUV under different propeller layout conditions is analyzed. Secondly, to study the hydrodynamic coefficients of the AUV at different pitch angles, we simulated the movement of the AUV in the Fluent module and determined the thrust of the propeller by estimating the axial and radial forces. Simulation results show that the resistance and sinking force coefficients of the designed AUV are positively correlated with pitch angle and negatively correlated with Reynolds number. This work provides a vital reference for designing effective control strategies for small underwater vehicles.
Conference Paper
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This paper presents an approach of system identification of the autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) SEMBIO leading to a sliding mode depth controller for precise underwater movements. A dynamic model has been derived, including static nonlinearities induced by the brushless motors of the thrusters. This leads to advantages in comparison to common PID controllers eliminating effects of non-rotating thrusters due to small computed control variables. Different experiments under realistic conditions and resulting behaviors proving this statement are presented.
Conference Paper
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Most of the autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) are provided with a main battery to process the on-board software and for the electronic systems. In this case, on-board energy capacity (battery capacity) will limit the operational time of the AUV. Energy depletion may occur at a critical moment during a task execution. In addition, returning the robot to its home-base and recharging the AUV to complete the task would be expensive and time-consuming. This paper presents the SEMBIO AUV that was constructed to reduce energy consumption using a streamlined body design. Furthermore, SEMBIO is provided with a solar and energy management system (SEMS) to increase the mission time. The small and inexpensive design of the SEMBIO AUV has been created to be employed in swarm robotics research, particularly for environmental monitoring applications.
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What mechanisms of flow control do animals use to enhance hydrodynamic perfor-mance? Animals are capable of manipulating flow around the body and appendages both passively and actively. Passive mechanisms rely on structural and morphological components of the body (i.e., humpback whale tubercles, riblets). Active flow control mechanisms use appendage or body musculature to directly generate wake flow struc-tures or stiffen fins against external hydrodynamic loads. Fish can actively control fin curvature, displacement, and area. The vortex wake shed by the tail differs between eel-like fishes and fishes with a discrete narrowing of the body in front of the tail, and three-dimensional effects may play a major role in determining wake structure in most fishes.
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Unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) have received worldwide attention and been widely used in various applications. In this paper, a recently developed low cost UUV prototype at the University of Canterbury is introduced, which is designed specifically for shallow water tasks, especially for inspecting and cleaning sea chests of ships for biosecurity purpose. The main hull of the UUV is made of PVC, with a 400mm diameter and 800mm length. External frames mount two horizontal propellers, four vertical thrusters, and power is sea chest derived from onboard batteries. The maximum thrust force of up to 10kg that is provided by the propellers can generate a forward/backward speed of up to 1.4mIs for the 112kg UUV. The vertical thrusters provide depth control with a max thrust force of 20kg. The UUV is equipped with a range of sensors capable of sensing its instantaneous temperature, depth, attitude and surrounding environment. Costing less than US$10,000 for a prototype, it provides an excellent platform for further underwater vehicle development targeting shallow water tasks with a working depth up to 20m.
A method of predicting body drag in subcritical axisymmetric flow is outlined which requires only detailed body shape, free-stream conditions and transition point to be prescribed. Results of calculations for a range of body shapes are shown essentially to confirm information in Royal Aeronautical Society Data Sheets but clearly demonstrate that fineness ratio alone is not sufficient to characterize body shape. For example, at a fixed fineness ratio of 0. 18, detailed changes in body contour are shown to produce 10 percent changes in drag coefficient.
Conference Paper
Abstract — Design optimization of an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) is a complex process in itself and computationally expensive exercise which requires the identification of the optimal vehicle dimensions while satisfying the given objectives and design constraints. So, far the AUV design process is dominated by ad-hoc approaches or empirical formulations. However, recent advances in computational fluid dynamics (CFD), optimization methods and computational science and engineering can allow the efficient development of semi/fully automatic optimization model for AUV design; and the present research is motivated by this. This paper presents a multi-objective optimization model for the design of an AUV. In our proposed model computer aided design (CAD) is integrated with CFD and this allows hull form optimization for a given set of objectives (resistance and volume) with bounds of constraints. The CFD is used for computation of viscous resistance and its integration with CAD and multi-objective optimization method allows the study of parametric hull form generations and analysis. The optimization is driven by non-dominated sorting genetic algorithm- II (NSGA-II) and with CFD simulation the automatic generation of mesh and automatic analysis of fluid flow, the efficient computation and optimization of objective function is presented. In this paper, integration of NSGA-II (implemented in MATLAB*TM) and CFD analysis (implemented with Shipflow**TM) is used to optimize the design variables for minimization of an objective function (viscous resistance) along with the maximization of an objective function (volume) making the problem a multi-objective optimization problem. We present a design example motivated by the real world applications and show that integration of NSGA-II with CFD and CAD is effective for AUV hull form optimization.
A commercially available, small (less than 100-kg), remotely operated vehicle (ROV) was modified to image and sample the marine ecosystem surrounding free-drifting icebergs east of the Antarctic Peninsula during three field expeditions in 2005, 2008 and 2009. Modifications included fitting the vehicle with an accessory tool sled, additional thrusters, flotation and significant changes to internal wiring to support a wide array of sensors and samplers. The ROV was re-configured aboard the R/V Nathaniel B. Palmer to perform either general exploration and biological sampling (Bio dives) or water sampling (Chemistry dives). In-situ sensors and a suction sampler were used for Bio dives while a suction pump and hose were fastened along the full length of the ROV tether to enable continuous water sampling adjacent to each iceberg during Chemistry-dives. Details of the ROV system are presented along with a discussion of the 18 dives that explored the sides and bottoms of six different icebergs during the 2009 field expedition.
Conference Paper
This paper presents a summary of the current state-of-the-art in INS-based navigation systems in AUVs manufactured by Bluefin Robotics Corporation. A detailed description of the successful integrations of the Kearfott T-24 Ring Laser Gyro and the IXSEA PHINS III Fiber Optic Gyro into recent Bluefin Robotics AUVs is presented. Both systems provide excellent navigation accuracy for high quality data acquisition. This paper provides a comprehensive assessment of the primary advantages and disadvantages of each INS, paying particular attention to navigation accuracy, power draw, physical size, and acoustic radiated noise. Additionally, a brief presentation of a recently integrated Synthetic Aperture Sonar system will be used to highlight how critical a high-performance INS is to hydrographic, mine countermeasures, and other SAS applications.
Traditionally autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) have been built with a torpedo-like shape. This common shaping is hydrodynamically suboptimal for those AUVs required to operate at snorkeling condition near the free surface. In this case, the wave resistance associated to the wavy deformation of the sea surface induced by the motion of the platform is an important component of the drag. This work has investigated the optimum hull shape of an underwater vehicle moving near the free surface. Specifically a first-order Rankine panel method has been implemented to compute the wave resistance on a body of revolution moving close to the free surface. A simulated annealing algorithm was then employed to search those set of parameters defining the hull shape that minimize the wave resistance. The optimization was constrained to keep constant the total volume of the vehicle. The total drag of scaled models of the torpedo-like and resulting optimum shapes was measured in the naval tank of the University of Trieste. Measurements showed a smaller resistance of the optimized shape in the range of the considered Froude numbers.