• UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    .@UCSB_Baseball is shut out by Sac State in series finale. RECAP: https://t.co/dVAtNSgOFN
    15 hours 58 sec ago
  • ucsantabarbara twitter avatar
    We’ve got spirit! How about you? Joining Gaucho Social is an easy and fun way to spread Gaucho pride through your s… https://t.co/y3Hqr8xMEq
    22 hours 16 min ago
  • ArtsandLectures twitter avatar
    RT @brainpicker: So looking forward to my conversation with the wonderful @PicoIyer at the University of Santa Barbara @ArtsandLectures ser…
    1 day 11 hours ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    Andrew Martinez (3-5, 4 RBI), Ben Brecht (5 IP, 1 H, 0 K), and Armani Smith (3-5, 3 RBI) team up to take down Sac S… https://t.co/uaCjUxpsEc
    1 day 13 hours ago
  • ucsantabarbara twitter avatar
    Current #UCSB physicist Gary Horowitz got to experience Stephen Hawking’s brilliance firsthand, and recalls Hawking… https://t.co/c19uuFTXbK
    1 day 14 hours ago
  • ucsantabarbara twitter avatar
    The 19th Annual UC LEADS Research and Leadership Symposium brought together undergraduates from across the… https://t.co/1gfuDbw8xd
    1 day 22 hours ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    UCSB MVB became just the second team this year to take a lead on No. 1 and undefeated Long Beach State, but the Gau… https://t.co/faB34xJskD
    2 days 9 hours ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    Women's Tennis: Harvard at UC Santa Barb. (3/16/2018 2:00 PM EDT) Rain Day Leads to Cancellation of UCSB vs Harvard https://t.co/K0rSjkMka2
    2 days 10 hours ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    .@UCSB_Baseball opener vs. Sac St suspended due to rain. Gauchos and Hornets to play two tomorrow. https://t.co/JpJxFxXmbV
    2 days 14 hours ago
  • ucsantabarbara twitter avatar
    Here’s the problem: the bigger the parts in a satellite, the more expensive it is to build, launch, and operate. Lu… https://t.co/KLmIBg84Rb
    2 days 14 hours ago
  • ArtsandLectures twitter avatar
    Considered the world's greatest mezzo-soprano, @JoyceDiDonato entrances audiences across the globe with “a warmth i… https://t.co/L3YuZv7m88
    2 days 15 hours ago
  • brenucsb twitter avatar
    Protecting marine mammals, turtles, and birds by rebuilding global fisheries: #BrenUCSB and @sfgucsb post-docs rele… https://t.co/0HTXyi7Mjg
    2 days 16 hours ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    Logan Hotchkiss and Billy Mullis will represent @UCSBSwimming at the 2018 NCAA Division I Men's Swimming Championsh… https://t.co/e92apKJm4f
    2 days 18 hours ago
  • UCSBLibrary twitter avatar
    #deadweek means you'll have to wait just a bit longer to celebrate #worldsleepday. You're almost there, Gauchos!
    2 days 19 hours ago


Thursday, October 7, 1999 - 17:00
Santa Barbara, CA

Think of it as an underwater R2D2.

Beeping and clicking along, it carries out whatever mission it has been programmed for. Its designers call it the Volkswagen of its kind.

Shaped like a missile, powered by batteries, and designed for any number of possible missions, this "autonomous underwater vehicle" or AUV, is a pet project of the researchers at the Ocean Physics Lab at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Still in development, the project lacks only for about $100,000 and a little more time from its creator, Derek V. Manov, director of the Ocean Physics Lab, who is quick to mention that the funder's name will be carried prominently on the side of the vehicle, once it is complete.

This unique AUV can be programmed to check environmental indicators, for example to "sniff out" oil leaks. It can also "listen" to the underwater environment and check the water for key indicators such as temperature, salinity and light. The bioluminscence of a red tide could be observed.

The UC, Santa Barbara vehicle will be a low-cost version of the multi-million dollar AUVs designed and built at other institutions.

"They are making the Ferraris and the Rolls," said Manov. "We are making the Volkswagens. If you need a Ferrari, great, but maybe a VW will do the trick."

"Ours is technically innovative but low-cost and efficient, and built for specific applications," said Manov. "There are several other larger vehicles that do it all, but maybe you don't need it all. We could build 20 for the cost of one of those."

This AUV will have built-in directions and a certain path to follow. But those could be changed remotely at any time. And the information it picks up can be downloaded into a computer for analysis. Communications could be carried out via satellite or cell phone.

"It could even carry a miniature camera and be used by a museum," said Manov. "Although that would cost more. But really, the possible instrumentation we could include is unlimited."

The staff at the Ocean Physics Lab, headed by oceanographer Tommy D. Dickey, spends most of its time developing instrumentation for and analyzing biogeochemical data from prominent international ocean research activities like the Bermuda Testbed Mooring in the Atlantic Ocean, or the Arabian Sea Investigation, in cooperation with other leading oceanographic institutions. But they are clearly smitten with this small-fry vehicle that sits on a table in the lab and is so portable that one person could carry out to a truck and drop into the Santa Barbara channel for a data run.

Ocean Physics Lab