The deep-sea cruising AUV Urashima is a prototype for an autonomous underwater robot, another name for which is autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV).
An AUV operates according to a preset program or the current setup values. Unlike ordinary deep-sea research submersibles, the robot eliminates the need for human operations, calculating its own course correction. Because there is no cable that connects the AUV to its vessel, there is little external influence on the AUV, resulting in extremely stable movement. Accordingly, the robot in water is capable of high-precision seafloor topographic and detailed geologic exploration. In February 2005, the Urashima's fuel cell (not today's lithium-ion battery) enabled the robot to achieve a world continuous long-distance cruising record of 317 km at a water depth of 800 m for 56 hours over a two-point course measuring 25 km.
At present, the Urashima's functionality is being enhanced to prepare it for full normal operation in the future.During this time, research related to body control and equipment for seafloor topography surveying is also being conducted.
Nippon Marine Enterprises has been commissioned to operate and manage the Urashima.
||Deep-sea surveying and research in autonomous unmanned dives
|Weight in air:
||100 km with lithium-ion battery, 300 km with fuel cell
||300 kg (in air)
||Side scan sonar × 1
Sub-bottom profiler × 1
Multibeam sonar × 1
TV camera × 1
Digital camera × 1
CTD-DO × 1
ADCP × 1
Click here to see a photo gallery of the AUV Urashima.