NanoSeeker Micro AUV

NanoSeeker is a design I am working on for a truly tiny AUV. It is six inches long, and an inch and a quarter in diameter. One of the neat things about this design is it has no external fins or control planes, so it can actually fit inside a one and a quarter inch launch tube.

Another thing I have done with this design is to only use inexpensive, common off the shelf parts. This allows NanoSeeker to remain extremely affordable. The micro sensor market has exploded in the last couple years, and a vehicle like NanoSeeker can have a full 6 axis IMU, a digital compass, a depth sensor, a wireless interface, and a 32 bit microprocessor, all in a package that you can carry in your shirt pocket.

Following are some CAD images of this AUV, with some notes. You can click on any of these images for larger versions...

Here's a page with some pictures of the real sub...

Here is what it will look like as a finished product. The shell hides most of the interesting parts.
Here's a back view, showing the dive plane/rudder and the propeller. The fins are directly in the propeller wash, and so should be very efficient.
This is a semi-transparent view, showing the overall shape with the internal components partially visible.
Here's a side view cutaway. The brown rectangular shapes at the top are lithium polymer batteries, which are the enabling technology that makes this whole submersible possible.

The board suspended beneath the front battery is an ARM microcontroller, which gives enormous flexibility in programming the autonomous behavior of this vehicle. It has 512 KB of FLASH program memory, and 32 KB of SRAM. Six of the eight A/D converters are available for user modules, if required.

This is a side view, more or less. At the front, inside the nosecone, is a six axis IMU, using all MEMs sensors. It includes a 2-axis digital compass as well, and provides an I2C interface. Not shown in this view is a depth sensor, at the bottom of the nosecone, which provides 6" depth resolution.

Underneath the front battery, on the bottom of the top board, is a bluetooth communications module. This allows you to gain full access to the microcontroller without taking the vehicle apart, which allows downloading of mission logs and uploading of new missions.

Here's an example of the module system, where a user payload can be added if required. This module is 1.5" long, and has access to the I2C bus from the ARM microcontroller, as well as the power lines.

Example module usage could include a GPS sensor, an acoustic modem, chemical sensors, a digital camera, or other environmental monitoring sensors.

If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me at