Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation IOSB in Ilmenau and Karlsruhe have developed DEDAVE, a high-performance autonomous underwater vehicle that is to be built in large numbers. Such autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) have already been used by companies for several years for marine exploration. They glide wirelessly and autonomously through the depths, collect observation data and return to the research vessel on their own. As a rule, these are expensive one-offs. In addition, many of these vehicles have complicated designs, making them relatively cumbersome to handle on board the research vessels: employees have to remove batteries in a cumbersome process to change them. It takes an hour to read the many terabytes of observation data from the AUV's on-board computer. In addition, many of these devices are heavy and only specially trained personnel can launch them by shipboard crane. DEDAVE overcomes all these limitations.
DEDAVE is the first autonomous underwater vehicle in the world in which development has consistently taken into account and prepared for subsequent series production. A separate company will manufacture the vehicles in the future. This will be spun off from the IOSB in the first half of 2016. A prerequisite for series production of this kind is that every production step is documented in detail. Only then can skilled workers assemble the vehicles as if on an assembly line. For this purpose, experts from the automotive industry were engaged who are experts in the field of industrial manufacturing and the qualification of supplier companies.