Design of a low cost thruster for an autonomous underwater vehicle
Underwater vehicles are always driven by the thrusters and they being very expensive units raise the overall cost of the vehicle. Currently a huge research is going on in the area of underwater vehicles (robots) all around the world. System of Systems incorporating underwater vehicles along with air and land vehicles to working together has the potential to increase effectiveness over individual robots or swarms in any of the three environments. Swarms of low-cost vehicles in each environment can be used to cover more area with less cost and lower risk and higher fault tolerance than individual vehicles, since loss of a few vehicles in a large swarm does not lead to the failure of the entire mission as it would for a single expensive vehicle. If each robot is costly and if the application needs around 10 to 15 vehicles then the overall cost of the project is more. So there is undoubtedly need for low cost underwater vehicles. The costly part of the robot is thruster. An efficient, less weight, very small in size thruster is not less $3000. An autonomous underwater vehicle with six thrusters will have to spend around $15000 exclusively for thrusters. A thruster that costs less than $2000 would definitely be a good commercial product. To design a more efficient, small in size, less weight and low cost thruster is a challenging task.