Below is a brief except from an article published in The Washington Post on how unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) technology has matured in recent years to overcome some of the difficulties of operating underwater. The article takes a closer look at our Bluefin-21 autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) and our new SandShark micro-AUV.
By: Christian Davenport, November 24, 2016
This year, General Dynamics boosted its underwater offerings when it acquired Bluefin Robotics, which makes several types of underwater robots. Its 16-foot-long Bluefin-21 vehicle is capable of launching what the company calls micro UUVs, known as SandSharks, that weigh only about 15 pounds. The SandSharks could scan an enemy shoreline and pop up to the surface to relay data to aircraft flying overhead. The Bluefin-21 could even launch a tube that goes to the surface, sticks up like a large straw and then shoots out an unmanned aerial vehicle like a spitball.
While there are still huge hurdles to overcome, especially when it comes to battery life, underwater-vehicle technology is about where drone technology for aircraft was in the 1990s, said Carlo Zaffanella, General Dynamics vice president and general manager for maritime and strategic systems. Signal processing is improving. So is autonomy, Zaffanella said. And the advancements are coming at a time when underwater warfare is becoming more important To read the full story, visit the washingtonpost.com.