IED- and mine-hunting unmanned underwater vehicle to be developed by Bluefin Robotics-led team

BY JOHN KELLER

QUINCY, Mass.–Bluefin Robotics Corp. in Quincy, Mass., is developing an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) able to identify and destroy ship hull mines and underwater improvised explosive devices (IEDs) under terms of a $30 million contract from the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR) in Arlington, Va.

Bluefin is leading a team that includes Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Orca Maritime Inc. in Imperial Beach, Calif., that is altering the Bluefin Hovering Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (HAUV) with a robotic arm for underwater IED detection and neutralization.

Unmanned underwater vehicle designers at Bluefin Robotics are using the company's Hovering Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (HAUV), shown above, to neutralize underwater explosives.

Bluefin originally designed the HAUV to inspect ship hulls. The IED detection and neutralization version of the UUV is the HAUV-N. Using a UUV to detect and destroy underwater mines and IEDs will spare human divers from this dangerous task.

A human operator will control the HAUV-N remotely. The IED-hunting UUV will use a video camera and its robotic arm to neutralize suspected mines and IEDs nearby or attached to ship hulls or other underwater structures.

Bluefin started developing the HAUV a decade ago as part of an ONR program to search ship hulls autonomously.

The company won a contract earlier this year to develop the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Hull Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Localization System (HULS).

FOR MORE INFORMATION, contact Bluefin Robotics online at www.bluefinrobotics.com, Oak Ridge National Laboratory at www.ornl.gov, Orca Maritime at www.orcamaritime.com, and the Office of Naval Research at www.onr.navy.mil.

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February 2014
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