Pillar 1. Developing the underwater vehicle

AUV 6000 is an autonomous drone designed to accomplish intelligent missions without assistance from an operator. This underwater system will pursue innovation in functionality and performance, enabling it to undertake, in the same dive, the tasks of scanning the sea (from small to large areas) and visually inspecting localized areas near the sea floor. An array of sensors for in situ physical and chemical analysis will be implemented simultaneously to produce sets of coreferenced topographical and physico-chemical data. Collaborating scientific teams working in the fields of deep-water research (CNRS, universities, IFREMER) are responsible for defining the system’s functions.

 AUV 6000 will enable operators to produce, in a single dive, data sets relating to geology, geophysics and geology which would normally require several dives. Designed in particular for operating alongside work-class ROVs (such as Victor 6000), its purpose is to survey sites of interest and define diving targets for the ROVs.

Subsequent to an international call for tenders in 2016, the contract to develop the vehicle has been awarded to ECA Robotics, a company based in the Var. In concrete terms, this means that the company has been awarded a commercial licence which involves a commission paid to IFREMER. IFREMER will conduct technological developments on the payloads, the embedded controlling software and the deployment system.

The new vehicle is expected to enter the fleet in 2020.