The main ambition of the ENDURUNS project is to develop an integrated hybrid AUV system capable of operating under deep ocean conditions and performing a wide-range of missions, targeting the increase of scientific knowledge as well as industrial capability and performance. Due to its versatile nature, the ENDURUNS system will be suited to perform scientific missions, such as seabed mapping, profiling, geological and geophysical surveys, commercial missions, such as inspection of infrastructure and assets, mineral and seabed mining exploration missions and public authority missions such as surveillance, search and find missions (e.g. aircraft wreckage), equally well. Therefore, the ENDURUNS system will enable for the first time long endurance missions demonstrated up to TRL 5 or above during the project for a wide variety of high impact deep sea applications. The AUV and USV combination are expected to significantly outperform all existing AUV vehicles, in terms of endurance, positioning, survey capability, resolution, sensitivity, etc.
The hybrid AUV will be powered using a hydrogen fuel cell, resulting in extremely higher endurance when compared with conventional commercially available AUVs and gliders. A Li-ion battery will be employed in order to provide supplementary power, particularly in case of failure or emergency, and for managing energy distribution to propulsion and sensors according the actual consumption requirements.
The ENDURUNS AUV will conserve energy by gliding when it travels to the site of interest in order to minimize energy consumption. During performance of seabed surveying and inspection tasks, it will switch to propelled mode, since gliders cannot perform such tasks due to their inability to cruise steadily at a certain height and speed from the seabed or infrastructure.
The hybrid AUV will be capable of performing multiple types of operation, including high-resolution seabed mapping, inspection of underwater assets, surveillance etc.
The ENDURUNS AUV design will be based on modularity, enabling the integration of existing systems and sensor packages as required by the mission profile.
The USV will follow the AUV from the surface and transmit data from the AUV to RMCC onshore. When crucial data or mission parameters change the relevant data will be transmitted directly to the AUV through the USV equipped with a satellite link.
The USV will receive, store and when necessary transmit relevant data to and from the RMCC. It will also be responsible for retrieving the data from data bubbles (capsules) that are ejected from the AUV.
The USV will use integrated electrical power provided through a combination of hydrogen fuel cell, Li-ion battery and thin film solar cells. The USV will have docking capability to aid re-charging the AUV battery when the hydrogen onboard has been exhausted but some additional operations are required to complete the mission as well as for LAR to port activities.