The Robot: Tortuga IV

Tortuga IV at the 2012 competition.

Tortuga IV is an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) built to compete in AUVSI and ONR's Robosub Competition. As an autonomous vehicle, it is designed to operate and perform complicated tasks without human input. AUVs are used for tasks that are difficult or dangerous for humans to perform: surveying miles of underwater pipeline, exploring and mapping the ocean floor, and detecting mines are just some of their many applications.

Tortuga has many sensors that record information about the robot and its surroundings. Tortuga's sensors include a depth gauge, passive sonar (hydrophones), active sonar (Doppler Velocity Log), multiple accelerometers and gyroscopes, a forward facing camera and a downward facing camera. These sensors are hooked into a custom electronics system that manages the power draw from each battery cell and its distribution to the parts of the robot based on commands from the onboard computer.

For movement, Tortuga has 6 thrusters that allow it to move and rotate around all three of its axes. To complete required objectives at the competition, it is also equipped with two Toypedo launchers and two marker droppers.


For a detailed breakdown of Tortuga's design and its construction in this and past years, check out our yearly journal papers below.

Journal Papers

Other Papers