Dual Use Submersible Vehicle Wins Prestigious R&D 100 Award for Battelle, The Columbia Group, and Bluefin Robotics

Proteus co-developer Bluefin Robotics receives R&D Magazine R&D 100 Award

Proteus is a new class of long range high endurance underwater vehicle that can operate in either manned or autonomous mode. Proteus has unique capabilities not available with other unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs), including large payload capacity and advanced autonomous behaviors. Thanks to the 51st R&D 100 Awards, it has been recognized as one of the best technical products of the year.

“We’re proud that this promising new vehicle has been recognized for the unique maritime technology and engineering accomplishment that it is,” said Steve Kelly, President of National Security at Battelle and the Chairman of the Board for Bluefin Robotics.

Bluefin Robotics, a Battelle subsidiary, joined with The Columbia Group to build the Proteus undersea vehicle that can deliver divers or payloads over hundreds of miles, without human intervention. The combination of long range and large cargo capacity make Proteus a highly flexible vehicle.

An extension of The Columbia Group’s Swimmer Delivery Vehicle (SDV), that was proven in operations working with Special Operations Forces Teams over many years, the Proteus UUV incorporates cutting edge autonomy software and high-energy-density batteries by Bluefin Robotics to dramatically expand the capabilities available to users of underwater vehicles. The Columbia Group has a 20 year history of providing U.S. and foreign navies with the Swimmer Delivery Vehicles.

The range of tasks that Proteus can undertake include: payload integration, test and comparison; advanced autonomy development; long range and stand-off experiments; transporting and installing equipment on the sea floor; inspecting undersea infrastructure such as bridge pilings, undersea pipelines and oil rigs; and transporting divers and cargo.

One very interesting Proteus application is undersea inspection. The autonomous Proteus can replace remotely-operated vehicles (ROVs) with their need for costly surface support ships.

The R&D 100 Awards are known as the “Oscars of Innovation,” in science and technology. The annual awards recognize and celebrate the top 100 technology products and the most significant scientific accomplishments and products each year.

proteus uuv

The Awards can go to private industry, academia, or government-sponsored research, in areas such as sophisticated testing equipment, innovative new materials, chemistry breakthroughs, biomedical products, consumer items, and high-energy physics.

Battelle manages a number of national laboratories for the U.S. Department of Energy, and won a total of 17 awards this year, bringing its historical tally to 298.

@Battelle tweeted their news at NewsBlaze:

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