Issue 37 Unmanned Systems Technology April/May 2021 Einride next-gen Pod l Battery technology l Dive Technologies AUV-Kit l UGVs insight l Vanguard EFI/ETC vee twins l Icarus Swarms l Transponders l Sonobot 5 l IDEX 2021 report

44 I t is well-established that in high-end unmanned vehicle markets there are a number of factors that require platform manufacturers to depart from the traditional production models that are typical of aerospace, automotive and maritime vehicle OEMs. The OEMs often run their businesses around mass-produced, fixed vehicle architectures. However, for many unmanned operations, end-users expect vehicles that have been ‘right-sized’ to their specific cost and operating requirements, and rightfully so. Also, they rarely order a lot of the vehicles once they’ve been customised – even large organisations usually need only two or three of them. These short production runs and demands for modularity and flexibility mean that investing in traditional high- volume machinery would be wildly cost- inefficient for most unmanned systems manufacturers, motivating some to look for alternative ways of designing and offering their wares. A case in point here is Dive Technologies, which has made headlines in the specialist press recently for what many have deemed its ‘3D-printed AUV’, the Dive-LD. However, after talking to Dive’s personnel – specifically its co-founders, CTO Bill Lebo, COO Sam Russo, and CEO Jerry Sgobbo – it is clear that the actual nature of what they have created goes beyond simply leveraging additive manufacturing (AM) in their production process. “When we launched Dive Technologies, in 2018, we had only a handful of basic requirements for our AUV platform – that it be low cost, have long endurance, and be highly reliable and flexible,” says Russo. “That shaped our approach towards being very adaptable with our hardware and software architectures.” While Dive was initially unsure as to what its AUV would end up looking like, it knew it did not want to commit to any Rory Jackson looks at how additive manufacturing and a set of proven subsystems enable AUVs of practically any size to be built in mere weeks Common factors April/May 2021 | Unmanned Systems Technology Dive Technologies has exploited large-format additive manufacturing to meet the development budget and schedule for its Dive-LD (Images courtesy of Dive Technologies)