ABE- Autonomous Benthic Explorer

The Autonomous Benthic Explorer, more commonly known as ABE is the first underwater robotic vehicle of its kind. ABE was designed and built at the
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in the mid 1990’s. ABE weights approximately 1200 pounds and is a little over 2 meters long. ABE`s top cruising speed is 2 knots.

As an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV), ABE is a true robot, able to move on its own without a pilot or tether to either ship or submersible. This gives ABE the advantage of covering large areas of underwater terrain. ABE was invented to address scientists` frequent need to monitor underwater areas over long periods of time, a job that can be very expensive using surface ships and manned submersibles for repeated visits. ABE is designed to perform a predetermined set of maneuvers, take photographs, and collect data and samples within an area about the size of a city block.

ABEwas developed by a team of engineers, who assembled what might be called the robot`s body (frame and housings), muscles (thrusters), nerves (cabling and power to operate the motors, cameras, and sensors), and brain (computer systems for powering up and down and to determining where ABE should go and when to take measurements). Each of these components presented a complex design challenge. The final design allows scientists to program ABE to maneuver independently in three dimensions, and at a range of speeds. These features allow ABE to follow the contours of underwater mountain ranges, fly around sheer pinnacles, and dive into narrow trenches.
Currently, ABE follows a set of instructions placed in its memory before deployment, and its data is accessible only after the robot is recovered. However, its developers envision the not-too-distant day when underwater acoustic transmission systems will allow scientists anywhere in the world to receive video and data from ABE, and to control its movements and sampling from their home laboratories.

Back to History Inex

Image Country Year Description
Guyana 1995 AUV-Autonomous Underwater Vehicle ABE (USA)
Palau 1998 Abe (AUV)
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