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Technology Factsheet

Autosub Long Range (ALR)

Category: Robotics > Characterization and Inspection > Underwater System
Reference # : Model No :

Autosub Long Range is a new type of AUV developed at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) in Southampton, UK. By travelling slowly (0.4 metres per second), and keeping a tight rein on the power available to its sensors, it will be capable of missions of up to six months duration and ranges of 6,000 kilometres. It can dive to a depth of 6,000 metres. It is fitted with the latest oceanographic sensors, battery technology and advanced satellite communication. The sensors include dual 600 kHz Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCPs) which measure the water velocities above and below the submarine to a range of 50 metres; a microstructure turbulence probe used to measure small scale turbulence in the undisturbed water in front of the AUV; a fluorometer which provides information on the turbidity of the water; and a standard CTD (conductivity, temperature and pressure) sensor used to calculate water salinity and to identify different water masses. This comprehensive sensor suite will provide data about the mixing processes which occur around the shelf edge.

Site: *
Industry:Maritime
Size:Very Large (>100kg/200lb, >120cm/48in)
TRL:Demonstration (7-8)
TRL2: *
Tether:No tether - Endurance more than an hour
Waterproof: *
Payload: *
Reach: *
Manipulator: *

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Historically, NOC have used Alkaline and Lithium Polymer battery packs in AUV's but with the ever-increasing deployment demands on endurance NOC required a fresh approach to power. Steatite worked with NOC to develop a mission-critical lithium primary solution that increased the AUV's endurance while reducing the whole life cost. AUV deployment can be costly with limited deployment and recovery times so deploying for as long as possible is essential.

Steatite's lithium primary solution offered a number of benefits over the existing alkaline solution, such as greater endurance due to the increased energy density, weight saving, higher stable head voltage and a greater operating temperature range.

Lithium batteries are already utilised with success in oceanographic applications including autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV), pipeline inspection, seismic surveying, acoustic profilers, sonar devices, oceanographic buoys, sensing devices, GPS systems and memory storage.

Steatite Batteries designed and manufactured battery packs, each containing 56 lithium thionyl chloride D cells. These battery packs were then tested to meet UN Testing Criteria Part III 38.3 Rev 5, Clauses T1 - T5. The finished solution comprises of 10 battery packs in order to achieve NOC required battery set specification of 25.2V DC @ 152Ah. Each battery set will be constructed into a frame inside a pressure vessel by NOC with connections made to the Autosub.

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