Memorial University of Newfoundland (Memorial) is undertaking a novel and exciting area of interdisciplinary research and development related to Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV). AUVs are an untethered, unmanned technology that enables a broad array of research, especially in hazardous underwater environments, that cannot be achieved by other means. In spring 2010, Memorial University commenced design work on a project that aims to provide a means to conduct high-resolution sub-bottom seabed surveys in water depths up to 1000 m (3281 ft), using a new imaging sub-bottom profiler technology with a 10 cm (3.9 in) resolution that has never been deployed on an AUV. The purpose of this project is to integrate a long-array sub-bottom profiler developed by PanGeo Subsea Inc. of Canada, into Memorial’s Explorer AUV by building a new vehicle section that resembles a thick airplane wing with a span of 3.5 m (11.5 ft). Memorial University is working to make the new equipment easily adaptable and removable from the Explorer AUV while in operation. The Explorer AUV equipped with this new sub-bottom profiler capability will be operational in 2012. In this paper, the underlying design criteria and challenges are discussed. A preliminary concept design is described and coarsely evaluated for technical feasibility.

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