High Speed AUV


The Virginia Tech High-Speed AUV was developed to support design and demonstration of a very small, very high-speed AUV. The project went from concept to first successful open-water trial in 10 months. Principal characteristics of the AUV are

Max speed: >15 knots
Diameter 3 inches
Length: ~3 feet
Mass: up to 50% greater than displacement

The AUV is much heavier than the water it displaces, and sinks quickly when not in controlled flight. Therefore we developed a controlled nose-down hover mode that the AUV utilizes when not moving. Unlike almost any other AUV, the High Speed AUV possesses very little separation between its center of mass and its center of buoyancy. Thus we have developed an active roll control capability that stabilizes roll motion while in flight and hover.

Instrumentation and electronics

The High Speed is instrumented to measure

Heading, pitch, and roll
Body angular rates
Prop speed

The High Speed AUV utilizes an x86-compatible single-board computer and the Linux operating system. An RF modem is utilized for communication while on the surface


Launch and flight of a neutrally ballasted vehicle