Bluefin Robotics Corp. was awarded a contract by the Office of Naval Research to develop a robotic mine and improvised explosive device (IED) identification and neutralization capability for a ship’s hull, to be used in Joint Service Explosive Ordnance Disposal.
The Cambridge, Mass.-based developer of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) will integrate a manipulator arm onto its two-man, portable, hovering autonomous underwater vehicle (HAUV), which is designed for ship hull inspection. This variant of HAUV, known as HAUN-N, will also be fitted with a video camera.
The current practice for hull mine/IED identification and neutralization is to send divers to scan the hull for targets and, when found, to mark them and neutralize them manually. The Bluefin Team-consisting of Bluefin Robotics, Oak Ridge National Laboratory of Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Orca Maritime of San Diego, Calif.-aims to accomplish the task with an HAUV-N equipped with the high-precision manipulator arm and video camera.
Once the HAUV-N finds its target, it will remain there while a remote operator neutralizes the device, thereby keeping divers out of harm’s way.
Development of HAUV began in 2002 as an Office of Naval Research (ONR) program to automate hull searches. HAUV’s development has undergone a series of developmental steps, culminating with the successful demonstration of “100 percent non-complex area coverage” in 2008. In 2011, Bluefin was awarded a $30 million contract modification exercising the production option for the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Hull Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Localization System (HULS).Read More