It is essential for an AUV to interact with its environment. To do so, SONIA is equipped with sensors and actuators. These devices enable vision, sonar location, distance calculation and accurate position under water. All these parameters are then used simultaneously to achieve various tasks such as identifying an object or shooting a torpedo at a precise location. Below are the three departments working on the AUV.

Mechanical Team

The mechanical team’s main responsibilities are to devise, build and maintain parts of the submarine. Parts include the enclosure, the hub, mounts and actuators. S.O.N.I.A uses one of its most faithful sponsor’s software, SolidWorks, for the 3D conception. CNC and additive manufacturing are then used to fabricate the parts.

On the other hand, the team is constantly working on new ideas and assisting other departmens to improve the efficiency of the AUV. Finally,  performing regular maintenance on moving parts is part of their tasks.  Innovation and improvement is part of our culture at S.O.N.I.A.

All the aluminium extrusions were manufactured using a CNC. This represents more than 250 hours of machine operation. The hull is made of carbon fiber and is drone-shaped to allow an easy change of direction and be symmetrical on all axes. The cross-shape also allows us to increase the number of devices on a broader sufrace. 3D printing is used to fit the electronic and inner components inside the enclosure.

Dry Weight
Degrees of freedom
Max depth

Electrical Team

The electrical team is responsible for developing all the circuit boards and managing the disturbance originating from the power, the heat and the electromagnetic field. The most evident challenge for the team is not only to fit the numerous electrical components in a restricted area but also to allow room for maintenance.

Moreover, that all of our boards are designed, soldered and tested in our laboratory. Engineering our own components is part of the S.O.N.I.A culture.

To simplify cable management, communication and power distribution, the team built the electrical platform around a backplane. This enables us to have  all custom boards  connected on one plane. Microcontrollers and FPGA are programmed by the members to process and interact with the sensors.

Custom boards

Software Team

The software team is responsible for developing the drivers used communicate with the 6 sensors. Once the communications established, the team receives the data collected. The data analysis is then performed using the algorithm encoded by the team. All of these are vital for the fluid interaction between the AUV and its underwater surroundings.

It has to be noted that all of our software development can be found on GitHub. Sharing our work is part of the S.O.N.I.A learning process.

The 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

Do you want to know more about our AUV concept ?   New submarine AUV-7 Paper 2017