Ocean Engineering and Sciences

Underwater Technologies Lab

150 West University Boulevard, Melbourne, Florida 32901 Tel: (321) 674-7244

Coordinator: Dr. Stephen L. Wood Email: swood@fit.edu Location: Link 424 Bldg.

The Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Laboratory in the department of ocean engineering at Florida Institute of Technology is part of a national effort to develop an "Integrated, Sustained Ocean Observing System," see U.S. Global Ocean Observing System.  The AUV Lab is primarily concerned with the development of hardware and software for navigation, path planning, collision avoidance, fault detection and recovery, and communication for obtaining oceanographic data over an extended period at extremely deep depths.

Research Areas

The Underwater Technologies Laboratory is actively researching several topics associated with the deployment of high technology systems beneath the surface of the ocean. The goal is to support the development of such systems for deployment by the oceanographic and industrial community and also to advance the state of the art of underwater engineering globally. Current research interests include:


It is the intention of the Underwater Technolgy's Laboratory of the ocean engineering program at Florida Institute of Technology (Florida Tech) to design and develop an inexpensive autonomous oceanographic data acquisition system that is capable of operating at depths to 6000 meters. The system will comprise four key components: 1) an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), 2) an underwater refueling and information exchange station, 3) an oceanographic mooring similar to those used by NOAA for measurement of surface conditions, and 4) a satellite connection between the mooring and Florida Tech's base-of-operations.

Ongoing Projects at Florida Tech:

AUV - Autonomous Underwater Vehicles

  • Bluefin BP-AUV - in 2011 NAVSEA Panama City provided Florida Tech with its first Bluefin AUV
  • Swarming / Collaboration AUV
  • Under Ice AUV - This AUV is configured to for under ice data collection.
  • Autonomous Underwater Gliders

ROV - Remotely Operated Vehicles

  • Tomcat - a student rebuilt ROV that was donated by Harbor Branch Oceanographic Instituted (HBOI) in 2011
  • Big Geek - a student rebuikt ROV that was donated by Woods Hole oceanographic Institute (WHOI) in 2013
  • ROSCo - a student designed and built remotely operated crawler for underwater archaeology.
  • ORC - a student designed and built remoately operated crawler to retrieve underwater unexploaded ordnance embedded in mud, in currents up to 6 knots, and with zero visibility

Ocean Energy

  • Wing-Wave ocean energy system  - obtaining electrical energy from the swell waves of the ocean, acting as a sea fan
  • GECCO ocean energy system - obtaining electrical energy from the swells and the random surface waves of the ocean
  • Spiral Turbine ocean energy system - obtaining electrical energy from the ocean's currents 


The Underwater Technologies Laboratory has a 500 square foot electronic workshop in the Frueauff Building with all of the systems necessary to maintain the Autonomous Underwater Vehicles.

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