Exploration AUV for long-distance-missions

Technical Details

Size: Ø 0.22 m x approx. 3.5 m
Weight: 73 kg
Power supply:
Lithium-Polymer-Battery with 1.75 kWh at 48 V (approx. 10 hours endurance)
Speed: Approx. 3 m/s (6 kn)
Actuation/ Engine:
1 Main thruster (pan-tiltable), 2 lateral thrusters, each 600W. 2 buoyancy engines (each 0.7l volume)
Evologics S2CR 48/78 USBL, Rowe 1.2MHz dual-head DVL, KVH 1750 3-Achs FOG/IMU, Paroscientific series 6000 pressure sensor, Micron DST obstacle-avoidance sonar, 2x Reson TC4013 hydrophone, ground-stereo camera system, ground camera, docking-camera (all cameras HD, uncompressed full-frame recording), 9x 3500 lm LED-flasher
USBL (modem function), Ethernet (when tethered with either copper or fiber cable, WiFi at the surface)
3-Schichtiges Datenverarbeitungskonzept: ARM-Basiertes System-Managementmodul, Intel-Atom-Rechner für Navigation und Intel i7-Rechner für Bildverarbeitung

Organisational Details

Sponsor: Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology
German Aerospace Center e.V.
Grant number: The EurEx project is funded by the German Ministry of Economics (BMWI), Grant No. 50 NA 1217).
Application Field: Underwater Robotics
Space Robotics
Related Projects: TRIPLE-GNC
TRIPLE-Guidance, Navigation & Control DFKI subproject: acoustic and visual perception of a miniaturized autonomous underwater vehicle for exploration of subglacial lakes (06.2023- 09.2026)
Localisation and perception of a miniaturized autonomous underwater vehicle for the exploration of subglacial lakes (09.2020- 06.2023)
TRIPLE-Mobile Docking System: AI-based close-range navigation and control for soft-robotic-based docking systems (11.2020- 05.2023)
EurEx-Safe Long-Term Navigation (09.2017- 10.2019)
Localization and mapping in confined underwater environments (09.2009- 07.2012)
Europa-Explorer (12.2012- 04.2016)
Autonomous underwater vehicle (11.2013- 06.2017)
Related Robots: Teredo IceShuttle
Through-Ice-Cap Transfer-Vehicle & Base Station
Related Software: Rock
Robot Construction Kit
This system is not actively used anymore.

System description

Project badge Europa-Explorer (Source: Marius Wirtz, DFKI)
The autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) Leng was designed as long-distance exploration vehicle. Its shape was specifically designed to meet the requirements of the Europa-Explorer-Project: very small diameter (in order to fit into the ice drill) as well as a hydrodynamically optimized outer hull (in order to reduce energy consumption and enable long-range missions). The vehicle is equipped with a large number of different navigation sensors since localization quality and availability are of key importance – in the Europa-Explorer-scenario the vehicle has to return to its starting position (ice drill) even after having conducted long-distance missions.
Besides operating fully-autonomously, the AUV can be operated in hybrid-ROV-mode by connecting either a fiber or copper data cable.


LENG: Docking

Fully autonomous docking of the AUV Leng with a mock-up of the ice-shuttle

Europa Explorer: LENG AUV undergoes an autonomous test mission

In this video, the Leng AUV undergoes an autonomous test mission in the saltwater basin of the DFKI Robotics Innovation Center. This mission is analogous to a potential mission in the ice-covered ocean of Jupiter's moon Europa. The vehicle undocks from the IceShuttle and then searches for gliders which act as acoustic navigation aids in a future mission. Following this, the AUV descends by modifying its buoyancy and gliding. Then, the vehicle searches the bottom for a black smoker. Finally, following an ascent (not shown), the vehicle docks again at the IceShuttle to transfer data. The robot-view images seen throughout the video is from data transferred at the end of the mission.

AUV Leng: Feldtest unter dem Eis

SherpaUW: Tests with hybrid underwater rover in the maritime exploration hall

Photo gallery

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last updated 07.11.2023
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