Uncrewed Systems Technology 051 l Primoco One 150 l Power management l Ocius Bluebottle USV l Steel E-Motive robotaxi l UAVs insight l Xponential 2023 p Issue 51 Aug/Sept 2023 art 2 l Aant Farm TPR72 l Servos l Tampa Deep Sea Barracuda AUV

Tampa Deep Sea Barracuda | Digest To run a mission, the operator needs only a laptop with Mission Planner installed, an umbilical and a control yoke for operation in ROV mode and a wi-fi hotspot, although wi-fi is not needed if the tether is in use. Launching at sea can be done from a small boat such as a RHIB, although the AUV can be launched from the beach as well. To prepare the Barracuda for a mission, the operator puts the dive planes and rear stabilising fins on to the hull; both are attached mechanically using a metal tube coupling and secured with a Chicago bolt. The electrical power and data connections are made with waterproof connectors from Blue Line Engineering. The next task is to charge the battery and install it. If the mission is to run in autonomous mode, the operator connects the laptop to the electronics and uploads the mission plan, then installs the sled on which the battery and electronics are mounted into the vehicle. Next, the operator switches on the AUV’s power, connects to it either with the wi-fi or the tether, launches the vehicle and sets the mode to manual, guided or autonomous, Daum explains. The sled can be withdrawn from the hull after the tail cone is detached. Larson explains, “It all comes out the back in one piece when you want to swap out the battery, the SSD card or you need to repair or replace something. Using regular hand tools you can replace anything on the electronics sled and put it back together, replace the battery, and in 10 or 15 minutes you’re back in business.” This is an example of the design philosophy applied to the Barracuda to make it relatively simple and forgiving to operate. “One problem operators typically have with big AUVs is that it takes a person with engineering qualifications to run and maintain them,” Daum says. “The Barracuda is aimed at the technician level, so a person with reasonable mechanical skills can operate and maintain it.” The Barracuda is also designed to be easy to transport, weighing about 40 lb in total or 50 lb when carried in a hard case, so one person can carry it, and it can be carried aboard an airliner rather than having to be shipped ahead. However, transport regulations covering lithium-ion batteries still have to be followed. Advanced comms and swarming USF has demonstrated an optical underwater comms system and performed some bench testing, Daum says. The system will enable comms between vehicles and with systems on and above the water surface, although the exact arrangements are still to be worked out. Larson says, “I think the way it is going to work is that there will be a comms node that serves as a central hub, and multiple devices will communicate through that, so you will get vehicleto-vehicle comms primarily through the hub.” The hub would be aboard a stationary buoy or, potentially, a larger mobile vehicle, he adds. Daum says the swarming software is being developed in collaboration with the USF and Certus Group under a phase two small business technology transfer grant. A working prototype has been built and preliminary testing carried out, he says, and integration into the vehicle is next. An underwater navigation system that is not prone to the inevitable drift with inertial systems is also under consideration. One possibility here is an ultra-short baseline network. Tampa is now taking pre-orders for a limited number of Barracudas, with Daum reporting that the company has commitments for 10 and plans to sell a maximum of 30 this year before moving into full-scale production in 2024 once it has reached a deal with a suitable manufacturer. 113 Uncrewed Systems Technology | August/September 2023 Barracuda AUV Length: 1.2 m Diameter: 10 cm Weight: 12 kg (in air) Payload: 1.4 kg (standard), 4.6 kg (extended) Cruising speed: 1-6 knots Endurance: 4-5 hours Maximum depth: 600 m Some key suppliers Autopilot: CubePilot Bathymetric sensors: AML Oceanographic Computing/AI platform: Nvidia Depth sensor: Blue Robotics Lidar: Beam Sea Associates RGB camera: Allied Vision Sidescan sonar: Marine Sonic Technology Swarming software: University of South Florida, Certus Group Specifications Support ring on the end of the Barracuda prototype’s electronics sled, which is designed to slide out as a unit to ease maintenance and swapping out of components when needed