Having Attitude Control Patents (Class 114/330)
  • Patent number: 11364984
    Abstract: A watercraft comprises a motor, an inertial mass, and a fin. The motor oscillates the inertial mass about an axis, producing a torque reaction on and oscillation of the motor. Oscillation of the motor is communicated to the fin, producing thrust.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 25, 2020
    Date of Patent: June 21, 2022
    Assignee: Fishboat Incorporated
    Inventor: Martin Spencer Garthwaite
  • Patent number: 11267546
    Abstract: Seismic autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) for recording seismic signals on the seabed. The AUV may be negatively buoyant and comprise an external body (which may be formed of multiple housings) that substantially encloses a plurality of pressure housings. Portions of the external body housing may be acoustically transparent and house one or more acoustic devices for the AUV. The AUV may comprise a main pressure housing that holds substantially all of the electronic components of the AUV, while a second and third pressure housing may be located on either side of the main pressure housing for other electronic components (such as batteries). A plurality of external devices (such as acoustic devices or thrusters) may be coupled to the main pressure housing by external electrical conduit. The AUV may comprise fixed or retractable wings for increased gliding capabilities during subsea travel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 9, 2020
    Date of Patent: March 8, 2022
    Assignee: Seabed Geosolutions B.V.
    Inventors: Erwan Francois Marie Postic, Thierry Brizard
  • Patent number: 10723426
    Abstract: A method controlling a thruster of a marine vehicle is provided. The marine vehicle is at least partially submerged in a liquid and includes a body and a thruster including two propellers. Each propeller includes blades intended to tum about a rotation axis of said propeller. The method includes a step of low-speed maneuver controlling, during which the thruster is controlled in such a way that each propeller generates a flow directed toward the flow generated by the other propeller and reaching the flow generated by the other propeller.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 22, 2016
    Date of Patent: July 28, 2020
    Assignee: THALES
    Inventors: Christophe Borel, Jean-Philippe Brunet, Benoît Theckes, Cyril Bouyer
  • Patent number: 10661623
    Abstract: A multi-modal vehicle includes a main fuselage body; one or more wings extending from the main fuselage body and having a shape configured to provide aerodynamic lift when the vehicle travels through the air and hydrodynamic lift when the vehicle travels through the water; and a buoyancy control engine situated within the vehicle and configured to control the buoyancy of the vehicle relative to surrounding water when the vehicle is submerged in water, thereby providing a buoyancy force to selectively propel the vehicle upwards and downwards, respectively, through the water.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 1, 2018
    Date of Patent: May 26, 2020
    Assignee: The Government of the United States of America, as represented by the Secretary of the Navy
    Inventors: Daniel J. Edwards, Jeffrey W. Book, Trent Young, Andrew Quaid
  • Patent number: 10611447
    Abstract: An autonomous underwater system for environmental monitoring including a multidisciplinary underwater station including onboard instrumentation, at least one autonomous modular underwater vehicle movable inside an area to be monitored along an assigned route, and at least one external instrumental modulus which can be connected the vehicle, wherein the multidisciplinary underwater station includes a docking area, an interface system, an equipping system for supplying the vehicle with instrumental moduli, and a management system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 5, 2017
    Date of Patent: April 7, 2020
    Assignee: ENI S.p.A.
    Inventors: Francesco Gasparoni, Mauro Favaretto, Tiberio Grasso
  • Patent number: 10543892
    Abstract: Seismic autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) for recording seismic signals on the seabed. The AUV may be negatively buoyant and comprise an external body (which may be formed of multiple housings) that substantially encloses a plurality of pressure housings. Portions of the external body housing may be acoustically transparent and house one or more acoustic devices for the AUV. The AUV may comprise a main pressure housing that holds substantially all of the electronic components of the AUV, while a second and third pressure housing may be located on either side of the main pressure housing for other electronic components (such as batteries). A plurality of external devices (such as acoustic devices or thrusters) may be coupled to the main pressure housing by external electrical conduit. The AUV may comprise fixed or retractable wings for increased gliding capabilities during subsea travel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 5, 2018
    Date of Patent: January 28, 2020
    Assignee: Seabed Geosolutions B.V.
    Inventors: Erwan Francois Marie Postic, Thierry Brizard
  • Patent number: 10464644
    Abstract: An apparatus. The apparatus includes a body and a plurality of control surfaces attached to the body. A first control surface is configured to control an ascent and descent of the apparatus, responsive to ascent/descent control information. A second control surface is configured to control a roll of the apparatus responsive to roll control information, and a third control surface is configured to control a yaw of the apparatus responsive to yaw control information. The apparatus further includes a releasable first docking fixture attached to the body, the first docking fixture configured to engage a second docking fixture on a payload.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 31, 2017
    Date of Patent: November 5, 2019
    Assignee: PGS Geophysical AS
    Inventor: Pascal Le Blanc
  • Patent number: 10416535
    Abstract: A retrofittable float with an underwater camera attachment for unmanned aerial vehicles allows an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to traverse over a body of water while recording images and/or video of the underwater environment. The retrofittable float with an underwater camera attachment includes a flotation device, a plurality of mounting brackets, an underwater scope, and at least one underwater illumination light. The flotation device attaches to the UAV via the plurality of mounting brackets. The plurality of mounting brackets is configured to align the center of gravity of the UAV with the center of buoyancy of the flotation device, thereby reducing the risk of capsizing. Once securely mounted, the camera of the UAV is positioned pointing into the underwater scope. The underwater scope allows the camera to record images and/or videos of the underwater environment. Finally, the at least one underwater illumination light is used to increase visibility.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 8, 2018
    Date of Patent: September 17, 2019
    Inventor: Kermit Mallette
  • Patent number: 10293916
    Abstract: An aircraft is disclosed, the aircraft having a fuselage having a centerline, and a wing extending from the fuselage and having a leading edge and a trailing edge. Additionally, the aircraft includes an engine mounted to the wing and having a rotating output shaft, and a propeller operably coupled to the output shaft and generating a rotating flow field to define a propeller wake when the propeller is rotated by the rotating output shaft. The propeller is located forward of the leading edge of the wing, so the propeller wake flows over the wing forming localized areas of effectively increased angle of attack generating a corresponding increased wing loading, with the wing having corresponding localized areas of reduced chord length to neutralize the otherwise increased wing loading. A method of countering the aerodynamic effects of propeller wake acting on a wing is also disclosed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 8, 2016
    Date of Patent: May 21, 2019
    Assignee: GE Aviation Systems LLC
    Inventors: Angela Marie Knepper, Paul Nicholas Methven
  • Patent number: 10093402
    Abstract: A system for subsea operation is described, comprising a free swimming, submersible garage and docking station (10,10?), and also an associated free swimming ROV (50), where the garage and docking station (10,10?) comprises a framework (14) arranged to function as a garage (40) or docking (40?) for the free swimming ROV (50), and where the submersible garage and docking station (10,10?) comprises at least equipment in the form of several thrusters (16,18) for operation in the vertical and horizontal directions, respectively, units and a steering system for positioning in the water, and also a winch (12) connected to said ROV (50) via a cable (34) for the transfer of electricity and signals.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 29, 2014
    Date of Patent: October 9, 2018
    Assignee: ARGUS REMOTE SYSTEMS AS
    Inventors: Frode Korneliussen, Jan Bryn
  • Patent number: 10071792
    Abstract: An underwater personal submersible is provided. The underwater personal submersible can include a main body comprising a tripod structure of two forward-swept stabilizing surfaces and a main section including a user compartment, a plurality of oxygen tanks, and a propulsion mechanism. The placement of the propulsion mechanism and the stabilizing surfaces increases the maneuverability of the submersible.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 8, 2014
    Date of Patent: September 11, 2018
    Inventor: Julien Montousse
  • Patent number: 9567050
    Abstract: A human-powered underwater propulsor for user's moving in water mainly has a power generating module provided within a receiving space inside a waterproof airbag, and the power generating module is coupled to a propulsion unit. The receiving space is formed with an opening end provided with a waterproof ring to be worn by user in such a manner that the receiving space is hermetically sealed to prevent water from entering the receiving space during diving. When user pedals by stepping on two pedals of the power generating module, the power generating module is actuated to cause the flapping of the propulsion unit. Hence, the human-powered underwater propulsor allows user to exercise his feet in the air to reduce drag in diving so that user can moves more easily in the water.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 21, 2015
    Date of Patent: February 14, 2017
    Inventor: Ting Fong Liu
  • Patent number: 9522718
    Abstract: The present invention is directed towards a fixed positively buoyant manned submersible that includes a plurality of vertical thrusters and a sealed enclosure(s) that can support one or more human passengers. The vertical thrusters can include vertically aligned propellers that are coupled to motors that control the rotational velocity of the propellers. The vertical thrusters to generate a negative vertical thrust to allow the submersible to dive within a body of water. Horizontal movement can be achieved through horizontal thrusters or directing the thrust vectoring of the vertical thrusters.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 25, 2014
    Date of Patent: December 20, 2016
    Assignee: Hawkes Ocean Technologies
    Inventor: Graham Hawkes
  • Patent number: 9494395
    Abstract: A mine emulation system includes a standard electronics section. The system can be reconfigured into several different mine shapes by the use of different end sections attached to the electronics section. The electronics sections can include an array of sensors, including magnetic, seismic, pressure and passive acoustic sensors. The electronics can be programmable such that the sensors can emulate the various mine types as well as differing mines within each type. An active acoustic communication system allows surface ships or RF buoy systems to communicate with the mine emulator. An operator can provide a release command to an acoustically operated release system via the acoustic communication system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 26, 2013
    Date of Patent: November 15, 2016
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Navy
    Inventor: Bryan J. Smallin
  • Patent number: 9487281
    Abstract: A submersible ROV is provided with four independently controllable swivel thruster assemblies that allow the submersible ROV to simulate the movement of a person equipped with scuba gear. The submersible ROV receives control signals from a controller located on the surface of the water or on land. The submersible ROV senses and transmits audio and visual images and transmits those signals to a base receiver located on the surface of the water or on land. Signals are transmitted to and from the submersible ROV via a tether. The tether may be connected either directly to the controller/base receiver or may be connected to an intermediate floating ROV with a power supply and wireless communication relay station. A person can vicariously experience scuba diving via the submersible ROV while remaining dry and safe on land or on a surface vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 14, 2014
    Date of Patent: November 8, 2016
    Inventor: Daniel Wolfenbarger
  • Patent number: 9487280
    Abstract: Apparatus and methods to operationally link (couple/decouple) a plurality of relatively massive, complimentary payload platforms (i.e., suspended machinery and ROV) at relatively deep working depths in an unstable marine environment (water column) while the payload platforms are in-transit. An apparatus includes a suspended machinery, an ROV, a capture collar, an extendable/retractable harpoon, and actuating machinery to controllably effect extension and retraction thereof. A method includes providing an in-transit suspended machinery having a capture collar, providing an in-transit ROV having an extendable/retractable harpoon, approaching the in-transit suspended machinery with the ROV, maneuvering the ROV so as to bring an end of the partially extended harpoon into aligned proximity with the capture collar, and further extending the harpoon so that it securely engages the capture collar.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 26, 2013
    Date of Patent: November 8, 2016
    Assignee: FAIRFIELD INDUSTRIES INCORPORATED
    Inventors: Stephen W. Jewell, Arne Tyler Schilling, William P. Klassen
  • Patent number: 9415848
    Abstract: Apparatus and methods to operationally link (couple/decouple) a plurality of relatively massive, complimentary payload platforms (i.e., suspended machinery and ROV) at relatively deep working depths in an unstable marine environment (water column) while the payload platforms are in-transit. An apparatus includes a suspended machinery, an ROV, a capture collar, an extendable/retractable harpoon, and actuating machinery to controllably effect extension and retraction thereof. A method includes providing an in-transit suspended machinery having a capture collar, providing an in-transit ROV having an extendable/retractable harpoon, approaching the in-transit suspended machinery with the ROV, maneuvering the ROV so as to bring an end of the partially extended harpoon into aligned proximity with the capture collar, and further extending the harpoon so that it securely engages the capture collar.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 11, 2015
    Date of Patent: August 16, 2016
    Assignee: FAIRFIELD INDUSTRIES INCORPORATED
    Inventor: Stephen W. Jewell
  • Patent number: 9090319
    Abstract: An autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) for recording seismic signals during a marine seismic survey. The AUV includes a body having a flush shape; an intake water element located on the body and configured to take in water; at least one propulsion nozzle located on the body and configured to eject the water from the intake water element for actuating the AUV; at least one guidance nozzle located on the body and configured to eject water to change a traveling direction of the AUV; and a seismic payload located on the body of the AUV and configured to record seismic signals.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 14, 2012
    Date of Patent: July 28, 2015
    Assignee: Seabed Geosolutions AS
    Inventors: Thierry Brizard, Alice Herve, Jonathan Grimsdale, Robert Dowle
  • Patent number: 9078402
    Abstract: Submarines are provided with bluff-shaped surfaces and/or fins used for modification of tropical storms or hurricanes by mixing the upper layer of a section of a body of water with water from a lower section of the body of water. By coordinating a number of submarines to traverse a region of a tropical storm or ahead of a hurricane the cooled water reduces the amount of heat energy available to fuel the intensity and movement of storms. A perforated plate of approximately 100 m×100 m is used, with or without fins, to mix layers of water by creating sufficient turbulence to create eddies up to 50 m. Submarines are used to entrain fluid motion to induce anti-cyclonic vorticity in the body of water.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 11, 2012
    Date of Patent: July 14, 2015
    Inventor: Lawrence Sirovich
  • Publication number: 20150144051
    Abstract: Autonomous, unmanned submersible can turn upside down in order to use instrumentation placed on one side only. Batteries (106) and instrumentation housing (104) are installed on frame rails (112,14,108,110) and can change their relative positions, thus inverting the relative positions between center of buoyancy and center of gravity and subsequently inverting the submersible.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 30, 2013
    Publication date: May 28, 2015
    Inventors: Jerome Vaganay, Leo Gurfinkel
  • Patent number: 9032899
    Abstract: An arrangement and a method for implosion mitigation, and in particular a structural arrangement of a water vessel and a method thereof for mitigating implosion loads. The water vessel includes first and second end portions connected by a middle portion, with one portion structurally weaker than the others so that when the vessel experiences an overmatching load, only the structurally weaker portion of the vessel fails. The vessel may further include energy absorbing structures.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 23, 2012
    Date of Patent: May 19, 2015
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Navy
    Inventors: Mark W. Hoffman, Robert Kent Tacey, Erwin Thomas Moyer, Jr., Jason S. Craft, Ronald S. Barbaro
  • Patent number: 9032900
    Abstract: Marine vehicle systems and methods are disclosed. The marine vehicle can be buoyancy controlled, enabling efficient, extended use of the marine vehicle. Buoyancy actuation can enable roll, pitch, and yaw of the marine vehicle, as well as translation in any direction. One or more elastic bladders can be disposed on or in the marine vehicle. The bladders can be selectively inflated and deflated to control movement of the marine vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 25, 2013
    Date of Patent: May 19, 2015
    Assignee: Georgia Tech Research Corporation
    Inventors: Ari Glezer, Lora G. Weiss, Mark G. Allen
  • Patent number: 8995229
    Abstract: Methods and apparatus determining a position of a submersible vehicle within a body of water are provided. A method comprises determining an initial position of the vehicle while the vehicle is at or near a water surface. The method further comprises coupling the vehicle and a base node to a weight and determining a position of the base node once the base node and vehicle have reached the floor of the body of water using acoustic modems of the vehicle and a surface vessel to aid in calculating the position as they descend, and acoustically transferring the at rest position on the seafloor from the vehicle to the node. The method further comprises decoupling the vehicle from the node and weight and determining a position of the vehicle based on the position of the base node and acoustic signals exchanged between acoustic modems of the vehicle and the base node.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 23, 2012
    Date of Patent: March 31, 2015
    Assignee: Teledyne Instruments, Inc.
    Inventors: Robert G. Melvin, II, Maurice D. Green
  • Publication number: 20150053413
    Abstract: A method of providing buoyancy, the method comprising the steps of: (a) adding a buoyant fluid to a container, the buoyant fluid comprising a base fluid, an activator and from 25 to 60% vol/vol microspheres; and (b) increasing the viscosity of the buoyant fluid to at least 80,000 mPa·s at a shear rate of 0.8 s?1 at 293K. The structure may be a tubular-shaped container that is used subsea, such as a frame of a cable laying plough. Embodiments thus provide a convenient method of adding buoyancy to a structure.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 20, 2014
    Publication date: February 26, 2015
    Inventor: Patrick Collins
  • Patent number: 8919274
    Abstract: A submersible vehicle with increased payload and energy savings, more particularly, a submersible vehicle, which may be an unmanned underwater vehicle, with high maneuvering cyclic-pitch postswirl propulsors. The high maneuvering cyclic-pitch postswirl propulsor arrangements are a bow thrust vectoring arrangement and a stern thrust vectoring arrangement. The bow thrust vectoring arrangement is a two-part arrangement having a forward/reverse element and a turning element. Similarly, the stern thrust vectoring arrangement is also a two-part arrangement having a forward/reverse element and a turning element.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 21, 2013
    Date of Patent: December 30, 2014
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Navy
    Inventors: Benjamin Y. - H. Chen, Stephen K. Neely
  • Patent number: 8839618
    Abstract: A buoyancy engine is provided for use in a saltwater environment. The engine includes a gas filled housing and a buoyancy chamber in the housing. An elastomeric membrane is positioned between the buoyancy chamber interior and the housing interior. A semi-permeable membrane is provided between the buoyancy chamber interior and the saltwater environment. Two electrodes can be positioned with both electrodes in the buoyancy chamber or with one electrode being positioned in the buoyancy chamber and the other being positioned in the saltwater environment. A controller is joined to at least one of the electrodes for controlling an electrical potential between the two electrodes. A power source provides power to the controller.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 21, 2012
    Date of Patent: September 23, 2014
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Navy
    Inventors: John B. Blottman, III, Barbar J. Akle
  • Patent number: 8826843
    Abstract: A method for operating a submersible vehicle includes, responsive to detection of a vortex ring undesirably affecting the vehicle and/or at least one vehicle condition indicating the presence of a vortex ring undesirably affecting the vehicle, initiating at least one control action to mitigate the effect of the vortex ring on the vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 17, 2012
    Date of Patent: September 9, 2014
    Assignee: iRobot Corporation
    Inventors: Ryan Moody, Frank Agius
  • Publication number: 20140224167
    Abstract: An autonomous underwater system for environmental monitoring including a multidisciplinary underwater station including onboard instrumentation, at least one autonomous modular underwater vehicle movable inside an area to be monitored along an assigned route, and at least one external instrumental modulus which can be connected to the vehicle, wherein the multidisciplinary underwater station includes a docking area, an interface system, an equipping system for supplying the vehicle with instrumental moduli, and a management system.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 15, 2012
    Publication date: August 14, 2014
    Applicant: ENI S.p.A.
    Inventors: Francesco Gasparoni, Mauro Favaretto, Tiberio Grasso
  • Patent number: 8795021
    Abstract: A diving toy having hydrostatic depth control adapted to cause said diving toy to continuously seek a predetermined depth in water. The diving toy includes a sealed main body with a motor and a battery compartment for receiving at least one battery positioned inside the sealed main body. A propeller is attached to an axle of the motor protruding through the sealed main body so that when the motor is activated the propeller spins. The sealed main body has a flexible portion disposed substantially rearward on the sealed main body. The flexible portion is hydrostatic pressure sensitive varying the fluid displacement volume and volumetric center of the toy as it dives or climbs. The toy may be adapted to have positive, negative or neutral buoyancy when placed in water.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 18, 2012
    Date of Patent: August 5, 2014
    Inventor: William Vernon Thompson
  • Patent number: 8783202
    Abstract: A subsurface propeller module, using Voith Schneider propeller technology, is provided for use in underwater vehicle dynamic motion control. One or more modules are mounted between nose and body sections of the vehicle such that their axes of rotation coincide with the longitudinal centerline of the vehicle. This enables the module to thrust in any direction normal to the direction of travel. Wiring for power and sensors can be routed through structural conduits connecting the nose section to the main body of the vehicle and supporting the propeller modules. The structural conduits can be shaped to provide support for the nose and body sections, and to have minimal hydrodynamic impact on vehicle forward motion or module thrust. A sealed housing is provided for the motors and control actuators of the propeller modules.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 25, 2012
    Date of Patent: July 22, 2014
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Navy
    Inventors: Scott Franklin Lowery, Bryan Franklin Johnson
  • Publication number: 20140090590
    Abstract: A submersible able to maintain one atmosphere of pressure throughout its operating envelope with the capacity to maintain a habitable atmosphere through its capability of rapid transit between underwater operating areas and the water's surface so as to replenish habitable air via a system of ducting, valves, and fans. The submersible is comprised of a towing and stability system that can vary stability about the submersible's longitudinal axis by selectively clutching or declutching the submersible's minimally stable crew compartment to the submersible's more stable bow hull, as controlled by the submersible's operator. The towing and stability system also provides the ability to propel the submersible underwater along a path of the operator's selection by aligning the tow vector within proximity of the center of gravity and then steering the submersible in three dimensions by articulating a plurality of hydroplanes which enact moments upon the submersible, thereby controlling its path.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 2, 2012
    Publication date: April 3, 2014
    Inventors: Richard Ross Maurer, Robert Steven DeCesare, JR.
  • Patent number: 8683938
    Abstract: Provided is an underwater posture stabilization system which, by being attached to various underwater equipment such as undersea equipment and underwater vehicles having different shapes and positions of the center of gravity according to their purpose and the like, allows simply and reliably setting their posture in water (basic posture), is excellent in versatility, is not only excellent in posture stability since, when the posture inclines under the effect and the like of tidal currents and pulsating currents, a moment to restore the posture to its original posture naturally acts, but is also capable of easily changing the posture as needed, and also is capable of stably controlling the posture even in the presence of complicated tidal currents and pulsating currents, and is excellent in reliability, stability, and certainty of posture control.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 19, 2009
    Date of Patent: April 1, 2014
    Assignee: Kitakyushu Foundation for the Advancement of Industry, Science and Technology
    Inventors: Akihito Shoda, Tohru Harada, Ikuo Yamamoto, Kazuo Ishii, Amir Ali Forough Nassiraei
  • Patent number: 8677921
    Abstract: A submersible vehicle having an outer hull which defines a hull axis and appears substantially annular when viewed along the hull axis, the interior of the annulus defining a duct which is open at both ends so that when the vehicle is submerged in a liquid, the liquid floods the duct. At least part of the outer hull is swept with respect to the hull axis A buoyancy control system may be provided. Various methods of deploying and using the vehicle are described.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 28, 2011
    Date of Patent: March 25, 2014
    Assignee: Go Science Limited
    Inventor: Harry George Dennis Gosling
  • Patent number: 8626392
    Abstract: A vehicle driving control apparatus is provided at least with: a rudder angle varying device capable of changing a relation between a steering angle, which is a rotation angle of a steering input shaft, and a rudder angle, which is a rotation angle of steered wheels; and a trajectory controlling device for controlling the rudder angle varying device such that a trajectory of a vehicle approaches a target driving route of the vehicle. The vehicle driving control apparatus is further provided with a changing device for changing responsiveness of control by the trajectory controlling device when there is a steering input given to the steering input shaft through a steering wheel by a driver of the vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 23, 2010
    Date of Patent: January 7, 2014
    Assignee: Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki Kaisha
    Inventor: Takahiro Kojo
  • Patent number: 8612095
    Abstract: A vehicle driving control apparatus is provided at least with: a rudder angle varying device capable of changing a relation between a steering angle, which is a rotation angle of a steering input shaft, and a rudder angle, which is a rotation angle of steered wheels; and a trajectory controlling device for determining a control amount and controlling the rudder angle varying device such that a trajectory of a vehicle approaches a target driving route of the vehicle. The vehicle driving control apparatus is further provided with a correcting device for correcting (i) a rate of change in the rudder angle with respect to a steering amount of the steering input or (ii) the determined control amount, in accordance with whether or not a steering direction of the steering input inputted to the steering input shaft through a steering member by a driver of the vehicle is identical with a rudder angle control direction of the control amount determined by the trajectory controlling device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 23, 2010
    Date of Patent: December 17, 2013
    Assignee: Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki Kaisha
    Inventors: Takahiro Kojo, Yoshiaki Tsuchiya, Theerawat Limpibunterng
  • Publication number: 20130305978
    Abstract: Marine vehicle systems and methods are disclosed. The marine vehicle can be buoyancy controlled, enabling efficient, extended use of the marine vehicle. Buoyancy actuation can enable roll, pitch, and yaw of the marine vehicle, as well as translation in any direction. One or more elastic bladders can be disposed on or in the marine vehicle. The bladders can be selectively inflated and deflated to control movement of the marine vehicle.
    Type: Application
    Filed: April 25, 2013
    Publication date: November 21, 2013
    Applicant: Georgia Tech Research Corporation
    Inventors: Ari Glezer, Lora G. Weiss, Mark G. Allen
  • Publication number: 20130291782
    Abstract: An underwater robot includes a body including a first end, and a second end, opposite the first end, and first and second actuation units positioned inside the body. Each actuation unit includes a pump and two valves connected to the pump. The first and second actuation units generate jets of fluid that are discharged through the first and second ends to propel the underwater robot, and the first and second ends are smooth.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 3, 2013
    Publication date: November 7, 2013
    Applicant: Electric Power Research Institute
    Inventor: Electric Power Research Institute
  • Publication number: 20130263770
    Abstract: A remotely operated underwater vehicle for cleaning surfaces submerged in water, the underwater vehicle having a first side, a second side, a propulsion means, a plurality of trimming means, a first buoyancy means attached to the first side and a second buoyancy means attached to the second side. Elements of the plurality of trimming means are arranged on opposite sides of the centre of gravity of the vehicle and at least one of the plurality of trimming means has a movable mass and a displacement region into which the movable mass can move. The centre of gravity of the vehicle is automatically shifted when the vehicle is accelerating or changes orientation, in which the first buoyancy means provides more buoyancy than the second buoyancy means such that the centre of buoyancy is located above the centre of gravity of the vehicle irrespective of the orientation of the vehicle.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 29, 2013
    Publication date: October 10, 2013
    Inventor: Robert Andersen
  • Publication number: 20130239869
    Abstract: An underwater vehicle configured to be remote-controllable and maneuverable includes a device which is configured to uncover a submerged object. The device comprises a working nozzle configured to conduct a water flow and a counter pressure nozzle configured to counteract the working nozzle.
    Type: Application
    Filed: November 7, 2011
    Publication date: September 19, 2013
    Applicant: ATLAS ELEKTRONIK GMBH
    Inventors: Sven-Christian Hesse, Joerg Kalwa, Ralf Richter
  • Patent number: 8490569
    Abstract: Designs and techniques for fluid thrusters and vehicles that are powered by propelling fluids with fluid thrusters. Multiplex-thruster (MT) systems are disclosed that include a single thruster and a flow multiplexer with multiple channels to deliver thrusting flow in various directions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 23, 2011
    Date of Patent: July 23, 2013
    Assignee: University of Southern California
    Inventor: Wei-Min Shen
  • Patent number: 8448592
    Abstract: Methods and devices are provided for rescuing and recovering underwater vehicles. In one embodiment, a system is provided that includes a modular rescue device configured to attach to an underwater vehicle, such as with a tow line. The rescue device can include one or more emergency mechanisms that can be automatically and/or manually activated to aid in detecting the location of the underwater vehicle in the event of an emergency. One exemplary emergency mechanism includes a buoyancy mechanism, e.g., an expandable lift bag, configured to be inflated with a fluid to add buoyancy force to the system to pull the underwater vehicle toward a water surface. Another exemplary emergency mechanism includes a signaling mechanism configured to signal the underwater vehicle's location.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 28, 2008
    Date of Patent: May 28, 2013
    Assignee: Ocean Server Technology, Inc.
    Inventors: Jonathan C. Crowell, David Charles
  • Patent number: 8418642
    Abstract: An unmanned submersible vehicle for use in a body of liquid having a top surface and in air overlying the top surface includes a hull, an integral antenna, and an antenna positioning system. The hull has first and second opposed ends. The hull includes a first hull portion adjacent the first end and a second hull portion adjacent the second end. The antenna is disposed within the first hull portion and/or is mounted on the first hull portion. The antenna positioning system is configured to reorient the hull from a transit position to a signal position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 7, 2009
    Date of Patent: April 16, 2013
    Assignee: iRobot Corporation
    Inventor: Frederick Vosburgh
  • Patent number: 8379087
    Abstract: Vehicle attitude is estimated relative to a ground surface over which the vehicle is traveling. An actual image of the ground surface over which the vehicle is traveling is compared with stored or predicted model images of the ground surface. The model images have corresponding known vehicle attitudes associated therewith. For one of the model images that most closely matches the actual image, the known vehicle attitude associated therewith is an estimate of an actual vehicle attitude relative to the ground surface over which the vehicle is traveling.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 16, 2007
    Date of Patent: February 19, 2013
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Navy
    Inventor: Richard Rikoski
  • Patent number: 8340844
    Abstract: This invention relates to a GPS navigation system comprised of a submerged vessel having a navigation processor associated via buoyant cable with a buoy having a GPS device; wherein the cable contains: a data link between the vessel and the GPS device; and a location device for the determination of the location of the cable to the vessel; and wherein the processor computes a GPS position relative to the vessel. The invention also relates to a navigation process comprising the steps of: attaching a cable between a buoy and a submerged vessel; providing a GPS data relative to the buoy and cable location data over the cable to the submerged vessel; and using the GPS position of the buoy and location data to compute the GPS position of the submerged vessel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 2, 2008
    Date of Patent: December 25, 2012
    Assignee: Lockheed Martin Corporation
    Inventors: Anthony Scoca, Mike Hanczor
  • Patent number: 8297214
    Abstract: A remotely controlled submersible with a circular profile. A shaft crosses the submersible at the center on the pitch axis that is fixed to the external shell holding the thrusters. From this shaft the framework of the submersible hangs with all of the essential components and any additional weight required gaining the desired buoyancy. A motor such as a servo motor is mounted to the framework and is coupled to a gear, sprocket or pulley that is fixed on the center shaft. When activated the motor rotates the shell of the submersible along with the thrusters to the desired pitch while the internal frame remains low. The design of the submersible external body in relation with the internal body allows the submersible to pitch and maintain stability with a fixed center of buoyancy and center of gravity.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 31, 2010
    Date of Patent: October 30, 2012
    Inventor: Jeffrey Paul Lotz
  • Patent number: 8275493
    Abstract: A system and method are provided for launching and recovering an unmanned, water-born vehicle (UWBV) from a mother ship. The UWBV mimics the behavior of dolphins and is positioned ahead of the ship in preparation for bow riding. The UWBV uses a guidance system to position and keep in the bow wave. A high-frequency (HF) sonar transceiver array aboard the ship computes and sends course corrections to maintain the UWBV within the bow wave. The frequency range of the HF array can be 100 kHz or higher due to the short distance between the ship and the UWBV. Accordingly, the HF array can have a small aperture allowing for accurate bearing resolution. Course corrections can be sent on a near-continuous basis such that changes in thrust and rudder angle can be minimized to allow for accurate control of the UWBV.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 30, 2009
    Date of Patent: September 25, 2012
    Inventor: Anthony A. Ruffa
  • Publication number: 20120180712
    Abstract: A submersible vehicle for use in a body of liquid includes a vehicle body, a pair of fins coupled to the vehicle body on-opposed sides thereof, and a dihedral angle control system. The dihedral angle control is system operative to vary a fin dihedral angle of each of the fins.
    Type: Application
    Filed: January 31, 2012
    Publication date: July 19, 2012
    Inventors: Frederick Vosburgh, Ryan Moody
  • Patent number: 8220408
    Abstract: An underwater vehicle including an axi-symmetric framing system rotatable about a centerline to define a shell of revolution having a uniformly-convex outer boundary. A narrow-beam sonar array is mounted on the axi-symmetric framing system, and includes a multitude of simultaneously-fireable and/or asynchronously-fireable transducers distributed substantially evenly over a 4?-steradian viewing angle. The present invention provides the necessary configuration for a vehicle wherein an internal algorithm can compare a “new” geometry to an “old” geometry collected earlier to construct a best fit of the new world map with the old world map and locate the vehicle within the context of the new world map. This then provides a completely independent mechanism for correction of the gradual drift in x and y that is not dependent on any form of external navigation aid.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 24, 2008
    Date of Patent: July 17, 2012
    Inventors: William C. Stone, Bartholomew P. Hogan
  • Patent number: 8205570
    Abstract: An autonomous unmanned underwater vehicle (“AUV”) includes a body, a controller, a buoyancy engine, a rotary propulsion system and pitch control surface(s). The buoyancy engine is for alternately ingesting and expelling ambient water to change the mass of the AUV and thereby cause the AUV to alternately descend and ascend in the water. The pitch control surface(s) are for causing the AUV to move forward while alternately descending and ascending in the water. The rotary propulsion system includes a motor for rotating a propeller in the water to provide thrust. The controller is operative for responsively, automatically switching between at least the glider and rotary propulsion modes. In the glider mode, the buoyancy engine and the pitch control surface(s) are cooperative for causing the AUV to move forward while alternately descending and ascending. In the rotary propulsion mode, the rotary propulsion system is operative for causing the AUV to move forward.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 1, 2010
    Date of Patent: June 26, 2012
    Assignee: Vehicle Control Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Thomas F. Tureaud, Douglas E. Humphreys
  • Publication number: 20120137949
    Abstract: An unmanned submersible vehicle for use in a body of liquid having a top surface and in air overlying the top surface includes a hull, an integral antenna, and an antenna positioning system. The hull has first and second opposed ends. The hull includes a first hull portion adjacent the first end and a second hull portion adjacent the second end. The antenna is disposed within the first hull portion and/or is mounted on the first hull portion. The antenna positioning system is configured to reorient the hull from a transit position to a signal position.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 7, 2009
    Publication date: June 7, 2012
    Inventor: Frederick Vosburgh