Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) have been conquering the oceans since 1957

Autonomous Underwater Vehicles can help humans do more work in the ocean...and they have been for a long time!

Autonomous Underwater Vehicle


Today we are going underwater to specifically talk about a few autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV).

One of the first AUVs was developed by the Applied Physics Laboratory at the University of Washington in 1957. The SPURV had an operating depth of 3000 m, an endurance of four hours and was built to research diffusion waves and submarine wakes and acoustic transmission.



Ok enough introduction, lets talk about a few AUVs that are currently operating in industry. We will start with Kongsberg Maritime wide range of HYDROID AUVs that can perform many tasks and also be configured to customer needs to include specific sensors.

REMUS 6000

REMUS 6000 Kongsberg

The Remus 6000 was designed under a cooperative agreement involving the National Oceanographic Office, the Office of Naval Research and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The Remus 6000 deep water workhorse has the capability of going really deep, up to 6000 m. That’s as tall as the Laila Peak in Pakistan.


Laila Peak Pakistan

Some specs for the Remus 6000:

  • 6000 m depth rating
  • Up to 22 hours of mission endurance
  • Proven Stern and Side Launch Recovery System
  • Reliable and Easy to Operate
  • Modular design

All Remus AUVs utilize the same proven VIP (Vehicle Interface Program) that is high intuitive and simplifies vehicle maintenance, mission planning and data analysis. The program can also run on any laptop that operates on Windows.

The VIP includes and integrated text editor for construction of the mission file, a map file that shows the planned mission view and also automatic error checking.

The Remus platform also comes with 24/7 customer service from experienced field technicians that are able to track issue on a global database.


Remus 600

This is the younger brother (or sister) of the Remus 6000 specifically design to go as deep as 600 m but can also be programmed to swim as deep as 1500 m (4921 ft). That’s almost as tall/deep at Mount Lincoln in New Hampshire or Mount Tai in Shandong, China. We need mountain climbing robots…oh wait we have some of that already...

Side note time!

…."from Oceans to Mountains”, good title for a love song..we digress but its OK.

Back to the AUVs..

Specs for the Remus 600:

  • 600 m but up to 1500 m programmable depth rating
  • Up to 24 hour mission endurance
  • Transportable system
  • Modular and advanced payload option

The Remus 600 is fully modular and is comprised of a series of hull sections that can be taken apart for maintenance and equipped with a variety of customer payloads.

Some commercial applications for the Remus 600 include emergency response, water quality assessment, route survey and charting, underwater asset location and deep marine archaeology.


remus 100 kongsberg

The Remus 100 is the youngest of the Remus AUV family and is the standard work fish used in many commercial and defense applications.

Applications include:

Hydro graphic Surveys, mine detection, harbor security operations, environmental monitoring, search and salvage operations, scientific sampling and mapping

The Remus 100 is 67 inches long, weights 70 lbs, uses direct DC brush less motors for propulsion, has an endurance of 12 hours @3 knots and has maximum operating depth of 327 ft.

The Remus is an intelligent marine robot you can rely on and it comes equipped with a rugged laptop with graphic user interface for easy mission planning and data gathering. This robot is small enough to be operated by 1 or 2 people but carries enough sensors and navigation equipment to perform complex sonar and oceanographic surveys over large areas.

Some data samples by the Remus 100 (your eyes on the ocean floor):

Barrels on the ocean floor...

 barrels underwater

Sand ripples..

Sand ripples


There are many AUV platform from other companies and schools and industry are using them to conduct research.

One of them is the passionate people at The University of Delaware Robotics Discovery Laboratories (RDL). They use the Remus platforms and also Teldyne Gavia AUVs for some of their research.

Some of RDL projects include:

Cayman Island study abroad program which brought University of Delaware students to spend four weeks researching coral reef environments at the Central Carribean Research Institute (CCMI).

Studying sea scallops using AUVs in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean which is one of the most valuable fisheries in the United States. The aim of the study was to measure dredge impact on fish habitats. Using and AUVs like the Teledyne Gavia that’s equipped with high resolution camera and oceanographic instruments, the team can measure sea level depth and water conditions near fishing areas.

This information collected by the AUVs can be critical to planning fishing expeditions and maintaining the scallop populations.

The University of Delaware and University of New Hampshire also host a biennial AUV boot camp in 2014. The focus of the boot camp is to improve knowledge on operating AUVs under various conditions and mission types. That year, a Kongsberg Remus 600 mentioned earlier was used for data gathering and nautical charting.

We applaud and tip our hats to the outstanding work that being done by the University of Delaware RDL and the smart and passionate personnel they have.

The world of underwater mapping using robots and autonomous vehicles is calm and quiet. The sound of splashing water and seagulls brings a calm atmosphere which can be therapeutic. Where I am going with this…not sure LOL!  Rest assured, these robots are definitely helping the humans find treasures in the deep depths of the ocean never before possible.

The ocean is vastly unexplored and so there is much space for AUV development within the industry. For you entertainment, here are few more AUVs that are/have been swimming around the oceans.

MBARI Dorado for seafloor mapping...

mbari dorado seafloor mapping

Theseus Large AUV for laying fiber optic cable since 1995

Theseus Heavy AUV

Even Kawasaki has recently developed their own cute AUV

kawasaki auv

Saving the best for last...

Underwater Transformer, Aquanaut revolutionizing ways we do work underwater..


Another shape changing AUV, EELUME..


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