ADLINK powers Cornell's autonomous underwater vehicle

July 25, 2014. ADLINK Technology, a global provider of cloud-based services, intelligent gateways, and embedded building blocks for edge devices that enable the Internet of Things (IoT), has announced its sponsorship of the Cornell University Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (CUAUV) team’s entry into next week’s 17th Annual International RoboSub competition held at the Space and Naval Warfare Command Research facility in San Diego, CA, from Monday, July 28, through Sunday, August 3.

The CUAUV’s Gemini submarine is powered by ADLINK’s Express-HL COM Express computer-on-module, featuring a 4th-generation quad-core Intel Core i7 processor with Mobile Intel QM87 Express chipset. The Express-HL acts as Gemini’s lone on-board computer, tasked with all vision processing and decision-making required by the AUV. In addition, the Express-HL COM Express carrier board runs its own controller, as well as communicating with micro-controllers on several custom-built peripheral circuit boards also included in Gemini’s design.

“When we started designing Gemini back in August (2013), we knew that we wanted something smaller and more powerful than the 3rd generation Intel Core i7 processor on Mini-ITX form factor that we used on our 2013 vehicle,” explained Markus Burkardt, CUAUV team leader and Cornell University senior. “We decided that a quad-core computer-on-module was the best option to reduce overall vehicle weight and footprint without giving up performance, so we started contacting vendors for support. We were really happy when ADLINK agreed to be our sponsor.”

The CUAUV team, made up of 43 students from three of Cornell’s colleges, spends more than 20,000 person-hours per year designing its vehicle and has won the annual RoboSub competition four out of the last five years. The team began testing Gemini in pool and lake waters back in June, performing and perfecting anticipated manipulation tasks for the mission elements included in the competition’s obstacle course. 

“ADLINK is proud to help with the efforts of such a dedicated and successful group of engineers,” said Elizabeth Campbell, general manager of ADLINK, North America. “The skills they are developing now will directly translate into the design of autonomous vehicles that are critical to many industries, including factory automation, geographic exploration, wildlife and environment preservation, and–of course–national defense.”

ADLINK’s Express-HL is a COM Express COM.0 R2.1 Basic Size Type 6 module supporting the 64-bit 4th Generation Intel Core i7/i5/3 or Celeron processor with CPU, memory controller, and graphics processor on the same chip, and is specifically designed for customers who need high-level processing and graphics performance in a long product-life solution. The Express-HL supports Intel Hyper-Threading Technology (up to four cores, eight threads) and DDR3 dual-channel memory at 1333/1600 MHz to provide excellent overall performance. Intel Flexible Display Interface and Direct Media Interface (DMI) provide high-speed connectivity to the Intel QM77or HM86 Express chipset.

The international RoboSub competition is co-sponsored by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) Foundation and the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR) with the goal of advancing the development of AUVs. The event serves to foster ties between young engineers and organizations developing AUV technologies. The competition mission elements and tasks are designed to simulate real-world challenges, such as visual recognition of objects, navigation, and acoustic sensing.

For more information on this year’s RoboSub competition, visit www.auvsifoundation.org/foundation/competitions/robosub/. For more information on the CUAUV team, visit www.cuauv.org/. For more information on ADLINK’s computer-on-modules, including the Express-HL, visit www.adlinktech.com/Computer-on-Module/index.php.

More in Instrumentation