The Naval Sea Systems Command, Indian Head Division has awarded Bluefin Robotics Corporation funding for further development of Bluefin's unique Hovering Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (HAUV) as part of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Hull Unmanned Vehicle Localization System (EOD HULS) contract. Having participated successfully in the Demonstration Phase of the contract, Bluefin was awarded approximately $2.7 million to provide two HAUV prototype vehicles and associated equipment in the Prototype Phase.
The contract specifically calls for Bluefin to, "produce, deliver, and support, a Prototype...Explosive Ordnance Disposal Hull Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Localization System to be used by US Naval forces in conducting ship hull and piers & pilings search operations." The HAUV will be evaluated on its capability to, "navigate precisely on a curved ship's hull, in order to optimally position the UUVs sensor suite for detection and classification of targets."
"We are extremely pleased to take one of our most promising vehicle systems to the next stage," commented Dr. Brian Abraham, CEO of Bluefin. "HAUV has been one of the most challenging and potentially the most rewarding of our products."
Originally developed in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the demonstration version of the Bluefin HAUV already offers autonomous operations for rapid and close-range hull inspection with little or no human intervention. Bluefin's approach was to incorporate its own proven software, navigation capability, and lithium ion polymer battery technology into a very maneuverable form factor with a highly capable imaging sonar that provides excellent probability of both detection and classification of contacts. The next phase will allow Bluefin to improve further upon this design.