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What If Underwater Robots Could Autonomously Dock Mid-Mission to Recharge, Transfer Data?

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An AUV (left, under water) connects with a mobile docking station.

Purdue University researchers have created a mobile docking system for autonomous underwater vehicles.

Credit: Jared Pike/Purdue University

A team of Purdue University researchers has created a mobile docking system for autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), extending their performance without human intervention.

Marine robots typically follow a preplanned itinerary, then surface for retrieval, data uploading, and recharging; the Purdue team's portable dock can be deployed at stationary locations, and on autonomous surface vehicles or on other AUVs.

Purdue's Nina Mahmoudian said, "The robots and the docks could coordinate with each other, so that they could recharge and upload their data, and then go back out to continue exploring, without the need for human intervention."

She envisions the platform-agnostic system finding use on land, sea, air, and even in space, enabling robots to function autonomously indefinitely.

From Purdue University News
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