Dakota Digest on SDPB Radio

Tech Builds Submarine to Explore Homestake

The Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Team -- AUV -- FRANC

Innovation on SDPB Radio

AUV -- Robot Submarine

Innovation on SDPB Radio


A new research program in autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV) has begun at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (SDSMT). The team is nicknamed "FRANC." The project has formed under the cross departmental robotics intelligent autonomous systems (RIAS) program at SDSMT. The team is made up of primarily undergraduate students with a growing number of graduate students (20 Students ~ 3 Professors to date). The current AUV is intended for scientific exploration and underwater work under extreme conditions. With a design pressure rating of 1500 psi (10,300 kPa), this submersible will be capable of depths of over 1000 meters beneath sea level. This pressure rating will be achieved by using crushable design techniques, e.g. instead of building a pressure vessel to protect the electrical component compartments, their compartments will be filled with mineral oil. The AUV will be capable of speeds of 1 m/s and five degrees of freedom. An array of mapping sensors will be utilized, including sonar, Inertial measurement unit, and a visual light camera. This unit is being constructed for an operation time of three hours. It will operate between 20 and 200 degrees F. The AUV is designed to incorporate many sensors including a water sampling system, visual, ultra-violet, and inferred imaging systems, temperature and pressure sampling, and potential for mineral or biological collection system. This AUV is being build specifically for use in DUESL but could be configured for other applications. The AUVs initial mission will be to map the flooded regions of DUSEL. The project has limited funding 8K from NASA and 10K from the South Dakota NASA Space Grant. We are always looking for sponsors, we just added MEMSense LLC as a sponsor with their donation of an Inertial Management Unit (IMU) worth 1.3K, so if you would like to help in any way contact us!!! See you under the water soon!

Our new -- still under development -- FRANC websitehttp://freya.sdsmt.edu/auv/index.php