Propulsion optimization for ABE, an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV)
Woodford, Thomas J.
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The oceanographic community is moving towards unmanned autonomous vehicles to gather data and monitor scientific sites. The mission duration of these vehicles is dependent primarily on the power consumption of the propulsion system, the control system and the sensor packages. A customized propulsion thruster is designed. This includes a specialized propeller tailored to ABE and a matched motor and transmission. A non-linear lumped parameter model of the thruster is developed and experimentally verified. The model is used to predict thruster performance and compare the design thruster with other variants of propeller and motor/transmission combinations. The results showed that there is a trade-off between rapid dynamic response and power conservation. For the typical ABE trajectory, the designed thruster provides good dynamic response and the lowest power consumption of all the modelled thruster units.
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution September 1991
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