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Autosub5 (previously Autosub 2000 Under Ice Phillips et al. 2020) is a high-power work-class 6m 2t Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV). It consists of a free flooded nose section containing sensors, a centre section of syntactic foam (the buoyancy) and batteries, the aft section is also free flooded containing navigation, additional sensors and the vehicle control in the form of twin thrusters and 4 independent fins. Its primary objective is to be launched from a ship such as the RRS James Cook (as we’re doing for JC237) to image the seabed in high resolution.
For topographic mapping, we use a multibeam echosounder, for acoustic imaging of the seabed there is a sidescan sonar, to see what is in the first few meters under the seabed we use a sub bottom profiler, and there are also two camera systems. Other standard sensors include the CTD (conductivity temperature depth sensor). Specifically for this cruise and upcoming cruises Autosub5 has been fitted with the RoCSI eDNA sampler, a magnetometer and a fluorometer. The vehicle has been designed by the NOC Marine Autonomous and Robotic Systems division to suit the needs of UK science. The primary goal was modularity so new experimental sensors can be accommodated easily.