Free-Flooded Modularity

Many AUVs are designed as large, continuous pressure vessels where the vehicle hull is the pressure vessel. Maintenance tasks, battery changes, and other activities often require an operator or technician to break a pressure seal—exposing the system to increased risk. Our operational experience with AUVs in the field led us to follow a different architectural approach.

In Bluefin’s free-flooded, modular architecture, subsystems are contained within their own pressure-compensated or small pressure vessels. These modules are connected by wet cables inside an ABS plastic hull that fills with water when the vehicle is submerged.

This architecture allows operators to quickly install or remove batteries and data storage modules, access subsystems for troubleshooting and maintenance, and swap payloads and modules in the field--all without ever breaking a pressure seal. Subsystems are also protected from impacts, fouling, and other damage by the plastic hull.

Bluefin’s free-flooded modularity enables:

  • Rapid turnaround between missions so your AUV spends more time collecting data.
  • A field repairable system for greater efficiency and flexibility.
  • Multi-mission capability via field-swappable payload sections in our larger vehicles.
  • Expandable and customizable baseline designs to enable new payloads, increased energy capacity, and alternative communication and navigation solutions.