More than 80% of the ocean remains unexplored by humans but could soon be mapped by autonomous underwater robots. But is that all unmanned submarines will be used for?
Autonomous robot submarines — also referred to as autonomous underwater vehicles, or AUVs — are able to explore high-pressure areas of the ocean floor that are unreachable by humans through preprogrammed missions, allowing them to function without humans aboard, or controlling them. They’re often used by scientists for underwater research as well as oil and gas companies for deep water surveys, but as defensive security threats continue to grow, the largest sector in the AUV market has become the military.
AUVs can be helpful tools in military ocean exploration, obtaining critical information such as mapping the seafloor, looking for mines — a current use case in the Russia-Ukraine war — and supplying underwater surveillance. Navies worldwide are investing in unmanned underwater vehicles to elevate their fleet of below-water defense tools.