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Naval Undersea Warfare Center AUV Project

In October 2004 the sanctuary, in partnership with the Naval Undersea Warfare Center - Newport Division (NUWC), the National Undersea Research Center at the University of Connecticut (NURC-UConn), and NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration conducted an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) survey of the 5-masted coal schooner Paul Palmer. The project sought to evaluate the AUV's ability to image a shipwreck with three video cameras oriented down, port, and starboard. During the project, researchers programmed the vehicle to run transects along the shipwreck's length.

Recovering NUWC AUV in a small inflatable boat
Researchers used a small inflatable to launch and recover the NUWC AUV.

R/V Connecticut
The University of Connecticut's R/V
Connecticut served as the project's home base.

AUV insides
After each mission, researchers downloaded the mission video and charged the vehicle's



Once launched, the AUV descended to the seafloor and ran transects at a specific altitude. The project deployed the AUV 3 times over two days; each time testing different mission profiles. After the research cruise returned to port, FortKey LTD. converted the down facing video into a plan view site photomosaic and the starboard video into a profile photomosaic. The photomosaics will be used for sanctuary management and interpretation.

For more information on the schooner Paul Palmer click here.

Additional Resources and Links

National Undersea Research Center at the University of Connecticut

Naval Undersea Warfare Center - Newport


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