AUV Barabas | Flanders Marine Institute

Flanders Marine Institute

Platform for marine research

AUV Barabas

The autonomous underwater robot (AUV) of VLIZ is a Gavia from Teledyne, operational till depths of 1000 meters. The AUV will be used in both national and international waters. The robot can be deployed from a dock, a small RIB or from a large research vessel.

What is an AUV and how does it work?

An AUV (autonomous underwater robot) is a device which can conduct missions under water completely autonomous. The robot is powered by (a set of) batteries which enable propulsion and operate the sensors. A Doppler velocity log (DVL) and an inertial navigation system (INS) enable the navigation under water. The DVL determines the speed of the vehicle in the water, while the INS determines the direction of movement. The combination of both systems, combined with a gps-fix prior to the dive, allow the AUV to calculate its position under water at all times.

The AUV of VLIZ is a Gavia from Teledyne, which is a modular device. This means that mission-specific sensors can be mounted. As such, VLIZ can perform a wide range of scientific measurements. Between two dives, the batteries and sensors can be swapped, ensuring a large degree of flexibility. After the dive, the AUV is picked up and the collected data can be downloaded. Analysis of the data can commence immediately after the download.

Why use an AUV?

An AUV can perform autonomous measurements and operate very close to the seafloor. This results in a number of advantages. Some examples are (non-exhaustive):

  1. Efficient use of (expensive) ship time. Indeed, while the AUV performs its mission, the ship can perform other measurements.
  2. Different measurements can be combined at the exact same location.
  3. Since the AUV can operate just above the seafloor, the resolution of a number of geophysical measurements (sub-bottom profiler, multibeam) is higher compared to ship-born measurements.
  4. A large complementarity exists between ship-, AUV- and ROV-measurements. A reconnaissance study can be performed with a research vessel (lowest resolution), after which a smaller region can be selected for high-resolution mapping/research. Finally, based on the AUV-data, focused video monitoring or sampling can be performed with the ROV.

Technical details

    • Length: 1.7 m to 3.55 m
    • Weight: 49 kg to 94.3 kg
    • Diameter: 0.2 m
  1. Operational characteristics
    • Depth rating: 1000 m
    • Maximum speed: 5.5 knots
    • Autonomy: 4-7 hours/battery
    • Memory: 480 GB (sensors have individual memory)
  2. Communication & gps
    • Ethernet: till 100 Mbit/s
    • Wifi: till 54 Mbit/s
    • Acoustic modem (Benthos): till 2 kbaud
    • Iridium satellite communication
    • Gps with RTK-corrections
    • GAPS-transponder enables USBL-updates
    • Transport cases
    • LARS (launch and recovery) system
    • Portable cage

How to make use of the AUV?

Please contact the VLIZ Marine Robotics Center for more information on the device and if interested in using it for scientific research:

Use and conditions

Note: if you use the AUV of VLIZ as a scientist, please refer to it in your publications as: 'This work was supported by data & infrastructure provided by the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ)'.