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Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Master's Report

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Advisor 1

Nina Mahmoudian

Committee Member 1

Gordon G Parker

Committee Member 2

Mo Rastgaar

Committee Member 3

Michele H Miller

Committee Member 4

Guy A Meadows


In the past decade Underwater Glider (UG) development reached its technical ma- turity. By 2004 the legacy gliders, Slocum electric, Spray, and Seaglider were suc- cessfully deployed for ocean data sampling missions. Since then several calls has been made to extend the scope of the application of these vehicles and lower the cost of manufacturing so that the fleet development is within reach. At Nonlinear and Autonomous System Laboratory (NASLab), we developed the Research Oriented Underwater Glider for Hands-on Investigative Engineering (ROUGHIE) to offer an scalable, highly maneuverable, and low-cost underwater glider. Our design methodology is to offer an open platform that is easy to modify in both software and hardware based on the intended application. With the novel design of the internal rotary actuation in the ROUGHIE glider we aim to extend the maneuverability of this class of underwater vehicles and open new avenues for both Autonomous Underwater Vehicles and UGs mission coordination and planning specially a lower speed and shallower water with lower power consumption. The ROUGHIE has been deployed on over 200 hours of basic systems characterization tests out of which 80 hours were dedicated to roll characterization and turning motion control. Based on the initial results in the controlled environment of the swimming pool, the ROUGHIE is capable of turn radii down to approximately 3 meters, one order of magnitude less than its commercial counterparts. In this work we study the banking turn flight of underwater vehicles in more depth and develop metrics for maneuverability of this class of vehicles or alike in this sense. The parameters that defines the borders of this category for underwater vehicles will be determined and further explored. To the best of author’s knowledge, there is no unique classification for underwater vehicles maneuver identification and standardization. Development of a new curriculum to promote integration of hands-on activities from early ages in STEM education is the secondary purpose of this research. The Glider for Underwater Problem-solving and Promotion of Interest in Engineering (GUPPIE) is part of a three year co-robotics program supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The co-robotics program is an application based robotic program—a response to National Robotic Initiative solicitation to accelerate the development and use of robots in the United States that work beside, or cooperatively with, people. Co-robot is a co-explorer that teaches young student how robots can help human life and the environment.