Underwater SPECTRE – Developed for Autonomous Underwater Vehicles

The Unmanned and Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV/UUV) and Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) autopilot is based on the SPECTRE autopilot board and has been installed on many different types of submersible vehicles. The subsurface autopilot uses SPECTRE and is suitable for controlling a wide range of vehicles:

  • A manned submersible, for example a Swimmer Delivery Vessel (SDV) and mini-submarine.
  • Semi-submersible autonomous vehicles with or without physical data link to an operator workstation.
  • An ROV with an umbilical data link to the operator workstation.
  • An Autonomous Underwater Vehicle and Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (AUV/UUV) with intermittent communications to a remote host, e.g. using acoustic communications.
  • A completely autonomous AUV / UUV operating ‘fire and forget’ missions. The SPECTRE autopilot offers heading, speed, track, attitude and depth/height control.

A remote operator, located on land or on a support ship, can track the progress of the vehicle visually on screen and control the vehicle, by communicating with the SPECTRE module on board the vehicle, either by RF or satcomms when surfaced, or via an acoustic link such as the Sonardyne 6G. Data from the navigational instruments on board the vehicle are sent back to the remote control workstation and used to display the progress of the vehicle on screen (see RCW software).

The SPECTRE (UW) subsurface autopilot provides

  • Advanced self-tuning autopilot control modes, including heading, track and hover / dynamic positioning, to minimise operator workload
  • Remote controlled operation
  • Fully autonomous operation
  • Autonomous with capability for operator intervention
  • Covert mode – zero command link transmissions
  • Spectre Secure Serial Communications Protocol (SSSCP) (available as DLL), or NMEA type interface
  • Acoustic communicatons protocol for use over a link such as the Sonardyne 6G
  • Multiple serial connections, 5 for the MicroSPECTRE, 10 for the SPECTRE
  • Analogue inputs and outputs
  • Digital inputs and outputs
  • Control of power for external devices with intelligent power monitoring and overload tripping, via PMM modules
  • Docking joystick – direct control of the boat via a dedicated radio modem when the vehicle is surfaced
  • Control over Iridium Satellite Communications
  • Compatible with our Datalogger that can log from serial ports, analogue inputs, and digital inputs measuring state or pulses
Wayambo Autonomous Underwater Vehicle using Dynautics Underwater Spectre subsurface autopilot

Typical applications are submersible ROVs and AUVs, indeed all vehicles that require a subsurface autopilot that come in all shapes and sizes.

The Dynautics SPECTRE (UW) autopilot has been successfully used on very small, extremely agile vehicles such as torpedo shaped mine countermeasures vehicles as small as 1m in length, up to Work Class ROVs weighing 5 tons; and manned Swimmer Delivery vehicles around 8m in length.

Hercules ROV using Dynautics Underwater Spectre subsurface autopilot