“Connecting the Oceans to Space: developing a floating renewably-powered autonomous underwater vehicle servicing platform with LEO constellation data uplink”

April 28, 2021 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm America/New York Timezone

Geoscience & Remote Sensing Society

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Speaker: Maha Haji

Abstract:  Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) offer the ability to provide persistent and

expanded ocean observations and measurements. The range and duration of AUVs,

however, are limited in range and duration by the vehicle’s battery capacity, and the

sensor payloads they carry are limited by the processing power onboard which is also

restricted by the vehicle’s battery capacity. Furthermore, the power consumption of a

vehicle’s acoustic system limits the possibility of substantial data transmission, requiring

the AUV be retrieved to download most data. The Platform for Expanding AUV

exploRation to Longer ranges (PEARL), described in this talk, aims to extend the range

and endurance of AUVs while reducing data latency and operating costs. PEARL is an

integrated autonomous floating servicing station that utilizes renewable energy to

simultaneously provide AUV battery recharging and data uplink via new generation

high-bandwidth low-Earth orbit satellite constellations. This talk details the design and

deployment of a 1:2.5 Froude-scaled PEARL system, along with the results from data

transmission via satellite link.

Bio:  Dr. Maha Haji is a joint researcher in the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace

Engineering at Cornell and the Engineering Systems Laboratory at MIT. Her research

focuses on utilizing multidisciplinary design optimization to develop a floating platform to

provide recharging and data offloading capacity for autonomous underwater vehicles.

Dr. Haji received her Ph.D. in Mechanical and Oceanographic Engineering in 2017 from

the Joint Program between MIT and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution where she

focused on the design and prototyping of a symbiotic system to harvest uranium from

seawater. Dr. Haji has worked in industry as an engineering consultant at ATA

Engineering, where she used analysis-driven design to solve problems ranging from

aircraft and rockets to robotics and rollercoasters.

Dr. Haji will be joining the faculty at Cornell as an Assistant Professor of Mechanical and

Systems Engineering starting in July 2021, where her research group, the Symbiotic

Engineering and Analysis Lab, will focus on designing offshore systems to sustainably

extract resources from the ocean such as power, water, and food, as well as mineral resources key to the progress of clean energy. For more information about her work and

her group at Cornell, visit: