Thales has teamed up with 19 high-tech startups to develop the AUSS autonomous underwater and surface system, a concept that is set to reshape autonomous operations at sea.
Surveillance, intelligence, counter-terrorism, mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare, monitoring of offshore infrastructure, and shipwreck search & recovery are among the applications envisaged for the new concept now being developed by Thales’s underwater systems business and 19 French small and medium-size enterprises. A potential game-changer, this hybrid autonomous underwater system will be equipped not only for underwater missions, but also for surface intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, or ISR. For over three years, Thales and its partners have been quietly developing the basic concept and its underlying innovations.
More capable than an AUV
The proposal to call the concept an ‘autonomous underwater and surface system’ is partly due to the difficulty the team had in describing it in just a few words. AUSS aims to overcome the shortcomings of current-generation AUVs. “Over the last decade or so we’ve done a lot of work on AUVs for mine countermeasures. This time, we wanted to develop a more capable autonomous system for a broader range of missions,” says Jean-François Ghignoni, Director of Marketing & Strategy, Thales Underwater Systems. “Today’s AUVs suffer from several limitations. First, they can…
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