To accomplish its task autonomously S.O.N.I.A. needs to sense and interact with its environment. This is why S.O.N.I.A. is equipped with sensors and actuators. Those devices enable seeing, sound localisation, distance calculation and precise positioning in an underwater environment.


The mechanical team goal is to conceive and build all the enclosures, mounts and actuators needed. The main challenge is to make sure everything is watertight, but as light and accessible as possible. The mechanical team uses conventional, CNC and additive manufacturing.

All the aluminium main hull’s parts (blue) were manufactured by team members using a CNC.
This represent more than 250 hours of machine operation.
The frame (black) is made from sheet metal in a shape allowing a flexible configuration of the submarine and a much easier prototyping environment.
3D printing is used to fit the electronic and inner components inside the enclosure.

Dry Weight
Degrees of freedom
Max depth


The electrical team is responsible for developing all the electronic circuit board to handle the sensors and devices powering the submarine. The team design and solder the boards itself. The main challenge is fitting everything in a compact space and managing the disturbance coming from the power, the heat and the electromagnetic field.

To simplify cable management, communication and power distribution, the team builds the electrical platform around a backplane. This enables us to have an electrical-backplane on which all custom boards a connected. Microcontrollers and DSP are programmed by the members to process and interact with the various sensors.

Custom boards


The software team works on the brain of the submarine. They are responsible for developing algorithms to extract meaningful information from the sensors’ data. They also write programs to provide decision-making capabilities to the submarine based on those information.

The new software ecosystem is built around ROS (Robot Operating System). This flexibility allowed the team to develop individual program (drivers) for every sensors and integrate them in bigger applications like vision server, the semantic map, the control system and the mission system.

+ Lines of code

Want to know more about our 2015 AUV concept ?   New submarine AUV-7 Paper 2017