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Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Sentry

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Infrastructure Enhancements for Deep Submergence  (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Research Focus & Anticipated Benefits

The autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) Sentry is a fully autonomous underwater vehicle capable of exploring the ocean down to a depth of 4,500 meters (14,764 feet). Sentry builds on the success of its predecessor with improved speed, range, and maneuverability. Sentry's hydrodynamic shape also allows faster ascents and descents. Sentry is operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Sentry carries a superior science sensor suite and enjoys an increased science payload enabling it to be used for both mid-water and near-seabed oceanographic investigations. Sentry produces bathymetric and magnetic maps of the seafloor and is capable of taking digital bottom photographs in a variety of deep-sea terrains such as mid-ocean ridges, deep-sea vents, and cold seeps at ocean margins. The submersible's navigation system uses a doppler velocity log and inertial navigation system, aided by acoustic navigation systems. Sentry is also equipped with acoustic communications, which can be used to obtain the vehicle state and sensor status as well as to retask the vehicle.

Like its predecessor, ABE, Sentry can be used to locate and quantify hydrothermal fluxes. Sentry is also capable of a much wider range of oceanographic applications due to its superior sensing suite, increased speed and endurance, improved navigation, and acoustic communications. Like ABE, Sentry can be used as a stand alone vehicle or in tandem with Alvin (a deap-sea submersible capable of carrying three passengers) or a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) to increase the efficiency of deep-submergence investigations.

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  • underwater vehicle being loaded on ship
Autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) Sentry is loaded onto the research vessel Endeavor.
Rich Camilli, WHOI