Design and Development of a Pump-Driven Variable Buoyancy Engine (VBE) for Autonomous Underwater Vehicles/Gliders
A change in buoyancy for an ‘Autonomous Underwater Vehicle/Glider(AUV/G)’ in conjunction with wings can be used to convert vertical motion to horizontal motion, improve propulsive efficiency and power consumption, design a compact shape, and increase the AUV/G’s endurance (range and duration of the operations). Thus, an efficient buoyancy control can extend the ocean-sampling missions from hours to weeks or months, and to thousands of kilometers of range. In this regard, we propose to develop vehicles that employ the ‘Pump-Driven Variable Buoyancy Engine (PDVBE)’ to have the capability to self-ballast and buoyancy control. Herein, we present the design and development of a computer-aided design (CAD) model for pump-driven variable buoyancy engine (VBE) for the AUVs/Gs. The proposed CAD model is modular in architecture and its various modules like design, simulation, control, and testing are scalable. Furthermore, the CAD model is integrated into the overall design of the AUVs/Gs. Finally, we present the various applications that are currently under investigation to demonstrate the applicability of our proposed design model.
KeywordsCAD model Pump-driven variable buoyancy engine Buoyancy controller AUV AUG
This research was supported by the internal research grants of IIT Madras through research scheme: OE14D212 and from Marine Systems Panel, NRB, India, via a sponsored project: NRB-263/MAR/12-13.
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