Sub Sea Vehicle and Method of Use: Vertical Glider Robot (VGR)

Technology #14094

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Vertical glider robot
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Inventors
Professor Franz Hover
Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT
External Link (meche.mit.edu)
Julio Guerrero
Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT
Charles Ambler
Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT
Brooks Reed
Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT
Robert Hummel
Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT
Managed By
Christopher Noble
MIT Technology Licensing Officer - Clean and Renewable Energy
Patent Protection

Vertical glider robot

US Patent 8,397,657
Publications
Autonomous robot scans ship hulls for mines
MIT News, July 17th, 2012
Vertical glider robots for subsea equipment delivery
IEEE Xplore, 9 May 2011, p. 2356 - 2361

Applications

The Vertical Glider Robot (VGR) will greatly enhance oceanographic research exploration by allowing autonomous delivery of equipment to precise locations on the sea floor.  The VGR can be used for oil exploration operations and oceanographic research exploration in subsea environments. In addition, the VGR can provide critical data about ocean conditions (temperature, salinity, pH levels), monitoring fish, seafloor boundary layer flow and sediment analysis.

Problem Addressed

Current gliders are not able to travel long distances due to the large energy sources they have to carry to power themselves as they traverse from the sea surface to the sea floor. This invention allows the glider to convert potential energy into kinetic energy during descent and has navigation control and an actuation system that allow it to reach its target on the sea floor without the heavy payload. 

Technology

This invention describes a subsea vehicle to support the deployment of equipment, sensors etc., in subsea oilfield activities and a method of use that allows deployment of the VGR in any needed number simultaneously or at predetermined time intervals between each. This invention can be used to deploy any number of VGRs and their payloads on designated targets with high accuracy. The VGR has actuators that move fins to orient the machine towards the direction desired as it glides down to the sea floor. The transport does not require large energy sources since the invention converts potential energy to kinetic energy as it glides, though small energy sources may be used to power onboard electronics. 

Advantages

  • Fast and high accuracy deployment with minimum hardware
  • Minimal power usage
  • Capable of carrying payload