Docking AUV for DCNS

On behalf of DCNS (now Naval Group), the French Oceanographic Fleet undertook a project to dock an AUV into a moving underwater docking station.

This involved adapting the AUV AsterX to carry a payload developed by DCNS to guide the submersible to a docking station fitted to the bottom of a ship. A world first, the project demonstrated the feasibility of docking an underwater drone with a moving ship. Subsequent to the validation on the simulation bench and in a dock, the project led to sea trials to demonstrate the docking concept in real conditions.

The French Oceanographic Fleet was responsible for integrating the payload, designing and deploying the special approach for the mission’s shipboard management, and analysing and mitigating the risks.

As such, the Fleet undertook the following:

  • Functional study for adapting the AUV, including the risk analysis
  • Mechanical adaptation of the AUV
  • Adaptation of the autonomous mission controller and the algorithms for the servo controls
  • Trials in dock and at sea