The robot is designed and built for the international SAUC-E (Student Autonomous Underwater Challenge – Europe) program by students from the University of the West of England (UWE).
SAUC-E challenges student engineers to design and build an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) and then perform realistic missions in the underwater environment. Gareth Griffiths, a Masters by Research student at UWE Bristol, who led the team comments: “As AUVs are frequently required to operate in environments such as murky deep waters we need to equip them with tracking and vision sensors that enable safe but accurate movement. Our vehicle is equipped with depth sensors, compass, sonar, a sound velocity profiler and two cameras yet must very manoeuvrable.”
Harwin’s 2mm pitch Mix-Tek Datamate connector family proved to be highly-suitable for the project, combining both power and signal contacts in one space-saving shell. Contact design ensures that signal integrity is maintained ever under severe operating conditions of temperature, shock and vibration. Adds Griffiths: “A key part of the challenge is to build an AUV that is robust enough to cope with a hostile environment yet incorporating sophisticated equipment in a watertight and lightweight encasement. This year, our key innovation was a focus on quality.”
Harwin has sponsored UWE’s work for a number of years, and the team performed well in the most recent SAUC-E challenge, winning the Smart Technology Award. A video of the UWE AUV can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWwxiMXe82A.
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