A biomimetic underwater vehicle design concept

McGookin, E. and Watts, C. (2012) A biomimetic underwater vehicle design concept. In: Roberts, G. and Sutton, R. (eds.) Further Advances in Unmanned Marine Vehicles. Series: Control engineering series (77). Institution of Engineering and Technology: London, UK, pp. 331-357. ISBN 9781849194792

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The previous two decades have witnessed a dramatic increase in size and scope of the field of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), which can be attributed to the numerous and varied application areas of this technology. However, one limiting factor with the current technology is the duration of missions that can be undertaken and one contributing factor to this is the efficiency of the propulsion system, which is usually based on marine propellers. One potential method of increasing the efficiency of the propulsion system would to implement a biomimetic approach, i.e. to imitate a solution found in nature. As fish are highly efficient swimmers greater propulsive efficiency may be possible by mimicking their fish tail propulsion system. Presented in this chapter is work carried out at the University of Glasgow focusing on a prototype underwater vehicle with a biomimetic propulsion system called RoboSalmon. The aim of this work has been to investigate any potential benefits of using a biomimetic system over a conventional propulsion system. This comparison has been achieved through the analysis of the swimming performance and power consumption of both types of propulsion system. The first part of the study presented covers the development of a mathematical model of the RoboSalmon vehicle. This model has been developed to improve the general understanding of the dynamics of the system. Simulation results from this model are compared to the experimental results and show good correlation. Experimental results obtained comparing the RoboSalmon prototype with the biomimetic tail system to the propeller and rudder system are then presented. These experiments include a study into the straight swimming performance, manoeuvring performance, recoil motion and power consumption. The main findings from the work are then discussed which show for forward swimming the maximum surge velocity of the RoboSalmon is 0.18ms-1 and at this velocity the biomimetic system has been found to be more efficient than the propeller system. Also, when considering manoeuvring the biomimetic system has a significantly reduced turning radius.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McGookin, Dr Euan
Authors: McGookin, E., and Watts, C.
Subjects:T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering
T Technology > TL Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics
V Naval Science > V Naval Science (General)
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Autonomous Systems and Connectivity
Publisher:Institution of Engineering and Technology

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