Bluefin Robotics awarded $30m Hull Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Localization System (HULS) production option
Bluefin Robotics, a leader in the design and manufacturing of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), is being awarded a $30 million contract modification to exercise option III for the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Hull Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Localization Systems (HULS) production systems. The HULS production systems support Naval Forces in conducting hull, piers and pilings searches. The contract was structured in three phases or options: demonstration, prototype, and production of the HULS systems. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head, Maryland, is the contracting activity.
The program objective: deliver a small and relatively low-cost autonomous vehicle capable of precision maneuvering, with a focus on ship hull inspection. The requirement to inspect ships' hulls has long been one of the most manpower intensive and time consuming tasks that divers must routinely perform, for both security and husbandry purposes. With increasing demands on some of the Navy's diving community, that are qualified Explosive Ordnance Disposal personnel, the mission of hull searches has emerged as an ideal application for unmanned systems.
Initially, Bluefin and Massachusetts Institute of Technology were selected to jointly develop the Hovering Autonomous Underwater Vehicle under the Office of Naval Research. The Bluefin Hovering AUV, which is the basis for the EOD HULS program, offers additional applications for both commercial and military hull and infrastructure maintenance and survey.