When it comes to ROVs and unmanned vehicles, is size that important? It seems so for the U.S. Navy, which is interested in the Large Displacement Unmanned Undersea Vehicle program. While similar smaller scale systems have been in use in various industries for some time, this year, the grander scale systems seem to be an especially high priority for Navy use.
According to Defense Systems, the LDUUV could be an efficient, multitasking alternative to manned vehicles. Some of the potential tasks a larger unit could accomplish would include both surveillance and offensive maneuvers. More intelligent vehicles could also make it easier for the Navy to deploy and keep these models interacting with each other.
The source quoted Ash Carter, United States Secretary of Defense, who said that $600 million would be set aside for unmanned undersea vehicles over the course of the next five years. This follows the $4.8 million included in a Navy proposal from last year for some vehicle sensors.
While the government seems dedicated to this plan, there are some concerns with producing appropriate vehicles. Marine Technology Reporter spoke to Bluefin Robotics' Director of Strategic Systems, Ethan Butler, about the change in thought that the new vehicles may require.
"Successful system integration and true modularity don't come from just designing to requirements – they require a different mindset," Butler said. "It's vital to be thinking 'modular' from the very beginning, so that when the time comes to adapt to a different mission or payload you don't find yourself fighting against design decisions that only work for one."
An ROV operator may need to look for new insurance solutions as their industry focuses on different kinds of models. When doing so, the providers that know industry norms intimately bring more useful, in-depth experience.