Journal of Intelligent & Robotic Systems

, Volume 67, Issue 3–4, pp 307–321 | Cite as

Development of a Spherical Underwater Robot Equipped with Multiple Vectored Water-Jet-Based Thrusters

  • Xichuan Lin
  • Shuxiang Guo


Research on underwater robots is attracting increased attention around the world. Various kinds of underwater robots have been developed, using an assortment of shapes, sizes, weights, and propulsion methods. In this paper, we propose a novel underwater robot, employing a spherical hull and equipped with multiple vectored water-jet-based thrusters. The overall design of the robot is first introduced, and the mechanical structure and electrical system are then individually described. Two important mechanical components are the spherical hull and the waterproof box, and these are discussed in detail. Detailed descriptions of the two-level architecture of the electrical system and the design of the water-jet thrusters are also given. The multiple vectored water-jet-based propulsion system is the key feature of the robot, and the experimental mechanism of this system is briefly explained. The three main principles behind the propulsion system are also presented. Finally, evaluation experiments are presented to verify the basic motions of a prototype robot. The experimental results demonstrate that the motion characteristics of this type of underwater robot are acceptable, and the design is worthy of further research.


Underwater robot Propulsion system Water-jet thrusters Propulsive surfaces Basic motions Onboard control platform 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Sangekar, M., Chitre, M., Koay, T.: Hardware Architecture for a Modular Autonomous Underwater Vehicle STARFISH. In: IEEE OCEANS 2008, pp. 1–8 (2009)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Allen, B., Stokey, R., Austin, T., Forrester, N., Goldsborough, R., Purcell, M. von Alt, C.: REMUS: a small, low cost AUV; system description, field trials and performance results. In: OCEANS’97, MTS/IEEE Conference Proceedings, vol. 2, pp. 994–1000 (2002)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Madhan, R., Desa, E., Prabhudesai, S., Sebastiao, L., Pascoal, A., Desa, E., Mascarenhas, A., Maurya, P., Navelkar, G., Afzulpurkar, S., et al.: Mechanical design and development aspects of a small AUV-Maya. In: 7th IFAC Conference MCMC2006 (2006)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Antonelli, G., Chiaverini, S.: Adaptive tracking control of unerwater vehicle-manipulator systems. In: Proceedings of the 1998 IEEE International Conference on Control Applications, vol. 2, pp. 1089–1093 (2002)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Menozzi, A., Leinhos, H.A., Beal, D.N., Bandyopadhyay, P.R.: Open-loop control of a multifin biorobotic rigid underwater vehicle. IEEE J. Oceanic Eng. 33(2), 112–116 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Gao, B., Guo, S., Ye, X.: Motion-control analysis of ICPF-actuated underwater biomimetic microrobots. International Journal of Mechatronics and Automation 1(2), 79–89 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Pan, Q., Guo S., Okada T.: A novel hybrid wireless microrobot. International Journal of Mechatronics and Automation 1(1), 60–69 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Cavallo, E., Michelini, R., Filaretov, V.: Conceptual design of an AUV equipped with a three degrees of freedom vectored thruster. J. Intell. Robot. Syst. 39(4), 365–391 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Le Page, Y., Holappa, K.: Hydrodynamics of an autonomous underwater vehicle equipped with a vectored thruster. In: IEEE OCEANS2000 MTS/IEEE Conference and Exhibition, vol. 3, pp. 2135–2140 (2002)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Duchemin, O., Lorand, A., Notarianni, M., Valentian, D., Chesta, E.: Multi-channel hall-effect thrusters: mission applications and architecture trade-offs. In: 30th International Electric Propulsion Conference (2007)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Le Page, Y., Holappa, K.: Simulation and control of an autonomous underwater vehicle equipped with a vectored thruster. In: IEEE OCEANS2000 MTS/IEEE Conference and Exhibition, vol. 3, pp. 2129–2134. (2002)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Kowal, H.: Advances in thrust vectoring and the application of flow-control technology. Journal of Canadian Aeronautics and Space 48(2), 145–151 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Beal, B.: Clustering of Hall Effect Thrusters for High-Power Electric Propulsion Applications. The University of Michigan (2004)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Lazic, D., Ristanovic, M.: Electrohydraulic thrust vector control of twin rocket engines with position feedback via angular transducers. Control Eng. Pract. 15(5), 583–594 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Do, K.D., Jiang, Z.P., Pan, J., Nijmeijer, H.: A global output-feedback controller for stabilization and tracking of underactuated ODIN: a spherical underwater vehicle. Automatica 40(1), 117–124 (2004)MathSciNetMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Watanabe, K.: An AUV based experimental system for the underwater technology education. In: OCEANS 2006-Asia Pacific, pp. 1–7 (2006)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Yang, P., Zhang, C., Zhang, S.: Operational principle and dynamic analysis of a new-type water-jet propeller. Journal of Lanzhou Unversity of Technology 3 (2009)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Wang, W.H., Engelaar, R.C., Chen, X.Q., Chase, J.G.: The state-of-art of underwater vehicles-theories and applications. Mobile Robots, I-Tech Education and Publishing (2009)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Guo, S., Lin, X., Hata, S.: A conceptual design of vectored water-jet propulsion system. In: Proceedings of the 2009 IEEE International Conference on Mechatronics and Automation, pp. 1190–1195 (2009)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Guo, S., Lin, X., Tanaka, K., Hata, S.: Modeling of water-jet propeller for underwater vehicles. In: Proceedings of the 2010 IEEE International Conference on Automation and Logistics, pp. 92–97 (2010)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Lin, X., Guo, S., Tanaka, K., Hata, S.: Development and evaluation of a vectored water-jet-based spherical underwater vehicle. INFORMATION: An International Interdisciplinary Journal 13(6), 1985–1998 (2010)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Guo, S., Lin, X., Tanaka, K., Hata S.: Development and control of a vectored water-jet-based spherical underwater vehicle. In: Proceedings of the 2010 IEEE International Conference on Information and Automation, pp. 1341–1346 (2010)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EngineeringKagawa UniversityKagawaJapan

Personalised recommendations