SEADOVE is a torpedo-shaped Autonomous Underwater Vehicle used for testing the concept of a novel emergency locator system. SEADOVE can navigate autonomously using GPS. SEADOVE is designed to prove the concept of a novel emergency locator system for airplane crashes, however, it can also be adapted for other research and academic purposes. SEADOVE's modular design allows users to configure different sensors based on their needs.


Length0.9 m
Hull diameter0.13 m
Max width0.35 m
Weight in air5 kg
DOFsSurge, heave, pitch and yaw
Max depth50 m
Speed2 m/s
BatteryLi-Ion (12V 5Ah)
CommunicationsRadio frequency
Pressure sensor


SEADOVE can navigate autonomously using GPS. The model is designed to prove the concept of a novel emergency locator system for airplane crashes. The underwater robot is used for emergency cases of airplane sea-crashes. What makes it unique is instead of being used for searching the airplane crash location, it is released from the airplane to send the crash coordinates to radio transceiver buoys that can relay the location data to the Search and Rescue team.

Electronics housing
The electronic components are housed inside an acrylic tube. The acrylic tube is sealed with an acrylic end cap with double O-rings. The prototype features a radio frequency module that offers two-way communication. A six-axis inertial measurement unit, compass, and pressure sensor is also equipped to help its sense of position. All the sensors, electronic speed controllers, and other module is connected to a custom printed circuit board and is controlled by an Arduino Nano.

The AUV is powered with a 12V Li-ion battery which is placed at the bottom part of the bracket so it can also function as ballast. Three CNC milled cable penetrator is used for providing a waterproof, high-pressure seal to pass the brushless motor, servos, and antenna cables into the electronics housing.


The nose design is made of 3D printed ABS plastic. Inside the nose there is a ballast tank, this gives the underwater robot the ability to descend and ascend while thrusting forward.

The tail is also made of 3D printed ABS plastic. It holds two waterproof high torque servos to move the rudder. The thruster is mounted at the back of the tail to provide propulsion to move forward.


The AUV's antenna is foldable, making it more compact and easier to carry when not in use. Inside the antenna, there is a radio frequency and a GPS antenna. The antenna is going to be above the water surface when in use to prevent signal interference from the water.

Read the related article "How can underwater robots help locate fallen airplanes?"


Article about the development and background of the project.

Samuel Alexander

Wevolver 2023