Industry-Sponsored Research Week

Virginia Tech collaborates with Dive Technologies to develop advanced autonomous underwater vehicle


By David Schwartz
Published: July 14th, 2020

Virginia Tech’s Center for Marine Autonomy and Robotics has entered a partnership with Boston-based Dive Technologies to develop an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV).

This multiyear collaboration will see researchers apply innovative technologies developed in the academic lab and deploy them in next-generation commercial applications of AUVs.

Bill Lebo, co-founder and chief technology officer of Dive Technologies, says: “We feel fortunate to be working closely with professors Daniel Stilwell, Stefano Brizzolara, and the entire team supporting Dive Technologies from the Center for Marine Autonomy and Robotics.

“Leveraging the expertise of the Virginia Tech team really drove our autonomous underwater vehicle design forward in a uniquely innovative way and has created immense efficiency in our development schedule,” said Bill Lebo, co-founder and chief technology officer of Dive Technologies. “Our partnership with Virginia Tech has pushed our team creatively and demonstrates the exceptional value of academic partnerships.”

Brandy Salmon, Virginia Tech’s associate vice president for innovation and partnerships, noted that the deal validates the university’s Link License Launch model, which integrates sponsored research with tech transfer and licensing functions. “The structure of this partnership is so inspiring and embodies everything we’re working to enable through the Link License Launch discovery to market team, Salmon said.  

“This gives Dive the opportunity to further commercialize, manufacture, and scale their innovative AUV platform. This end-to-end approach creates value on both sides and ensures technologies developed at the university deliver societal and economic impact. We look forward to supporting our researchers and Dive as the work advances,” she added.

The research team is led by Professors Daniel Stilwell in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Stefano Brizzolara, associate professor in the Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering.

“Dive Technologies came to us with a specific set of requirements for their unmanned underwater vehicle, which will perform deep ocean surveys and data collection,” Stilwell said.

“As one of the only places in the country that is comprehensively studying autonomous underwater vehicles, Virginia Tech is helping them leap ahead in terms of technology.”

In addition to software to guide AUV missions, Virginia Tech is working on new vehicle designs to enable long endurance missions by reducing drag and improving propulsion efficiency.

Source: Robotics and Automation News

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