With funding from the US Navy, the University of Idaho is currently investigating methods of improving communication among and decentralized control of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs). This method of decentralized control will allow UAVs to operate more quickly and efficiently as a group, collaborating and communicating to cover more ground in a lesser amount of time. With autonomous communication, the Navy can use a unit of several AUVs to quickly and safely search for mines underwater.
AUVs need some way of gathering their bearings and typically rely upon inertial guidance systems or underwater acoustic triangulation, but accurate inertial guidance systems are not economically viable for use in large numbers of inexpensive vehicles.
In other words, inertial guidance systems and underwater acoustic triangulation are typically too expensive to justify placing into each AUV, but some kind of navigational system is necessary for autonomous communication.
To feasibly incorporate an inertial system into each AUV, the University of Idaho enlisted the assistance of Archangel Systems. Since then, Archangel has conducted its own research—leveraging the technology of our inertial aerospace products to develop an IMU that works efficiently underwater and meets budget constraints.