Magazine article National Defense

New Power Technology for Underwater Drones

Magazine article National Defense

New Power Technology for Underwater Drones

Article excerpt

* Unmanned underwater vehicles have made a splash in the defense market, but powering them is still an issue.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Open Water Power, a Massachusetts-based start up company, is currently developing a device that uses aluminum-based power systems to juice up underwater drones for what CEO Tom Milnes said is a significant improvement over traditional batteries.

"Our technology is best suited for moderate power, long-duration underwater [vehicles]," Milnes said. "We are a great fit for things like UUVs, manned submersibles... and we're also very well suited for ocean-floor sensors."

The company was founded out of a joint research project between MIT and Lincoln Labs, he said. In the fall of 2011 the group was tasked with finding a way to extend the endurance of a UUV, and by the second year of researching found that aluminum would be a good material to use, he said.

"Typically if you put an aluminum can in water, or if you put water, or soda or beer in an aluminum can, the aluminum corrodes very, very slowly. …

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