Odyssey IV Robot Submarine by MIT

The design behind Odyssey IV was dreamt up by the AUV (autonomous underwater vehicle) laboratory of MIT. The purpose was to enable deep sea researchers a cheaper, easier to operate, alternative to the submarine robots available. Another goal is to eliminate the continuous monitoring needs of the AUV during scouting missions. Odyssey IV can be deployed for six months and self charged completely underwater.

The Odyssey IV weighs 1000 lbs. and is 6.5 ft. long it has twin side-mounted thrusters that can propel up to 3 knots. A second pair of embedded, cross-body thrusters makes tight turns, full rotation, and even lateral movement easy for the Odyssey IV. These movements enable the Odyssey to handle autonomous movements thousands of feet underwater with no human assistance. At anytime the Odyssey IV feels that it has drifted to far off track or had a system failure it will immediately surface and float until picked up. Currently it can follow a pre-plotted course following GPS waypoints and underwater coordinates made from acoustic data.

The internal volume consists of ceramic balls that provide buoyancy and water. The weight essentially doubles as it takes on about 1000 lbs. of seawater, which also lowers the temperature in the onboard liquid cooling system. This in turn helps keep the computer brain that is sealed-off in one of the few waterless compartments in the vehicle.

Although Odyssey IV can improve underwater missions for off shore oil rigs and underwater research there is much more testing to be done before it is marketable. MIT expects the Odyssey to be a full success and to be marketable by 2010.

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