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The University of Southampton
Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute

Scaling capabilities in maritime robotics

Published: 29 January 2019
Demonstrating FLEUR's capabilities
The Duke of Kent watches a demonstration of FLEUR's capabilities

An article written by SMMI members has featured in the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers December issue of Shipping Network.

Drs Nick Townsend, Jon Downes, Blair Thornton and Prof Stephen Turnock work within The Maritime Robotics Laboratory (MRL) and are developing new technology and approaches to scale capabilities in marine robotics, by orders of magnitude. Their priority is to identify and remove the bottlenecks in the technology, enabling systems that can 1) go longer, 2) are smarter and 3) work together.

Two interesting systems that they are developing are ASV FLEUR and AUV Willie. ASV FLEUR, is a flapping foil-based mechanism that converts ocean wave energy directly into propulsion (saving power) or directly into electricity (by the relative motion between the hull and foil motion driving a generator). It works like a whale tail and in fact the phenomena (rather gruesomely) lead to the historical whaling industry practice of removing the flukes on whale carcases to stop the bodies propelling themselves off in waves before they were collected. The other system, AUV Willie, is a gyroscopic based energy recovery system (which exploits the wave induced motions and response of gyroscope to drive a generator). An interesting side effect of harvesting the vessel motions is that you can also stabilise the vessel which may make taking measurements easier.

Read the full article below on pages 16-17.


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