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Japan to use Hydroid underwater vehicles to study tsunami effects

Hydroid Inc., a Bourne-based manufacturer of autonomous underwater vehicles, or AUVs, said it has shipped four Remus 100 AUV’s to the Japanese Ministry of Defense.

One mission planned for these AUVs: Checking out how last year’s earthquake and tsunami have affected the ocean floor along the Japanese coast.

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According to Hydroid’s website, the Remus 100 is a torpedo-shaped device that generally weighs about 80 pounds; this type of AUV is designed to operate near sea coasts at depths of up to 100 meters.

The Remus vehicles will help the ministry to “comprehensively scan and map the sections of sea floor affected by contaminants, an important part of the restoration process following this devastating natural disaster,” Hydroid president and cofounder Christopher von Alt said in a statement that referenced the tsunami off Japan.

The AUVs will also be available for such military operations as detecting underwater mines.

Not long ago, a Remus was used by the Royal Netherlands Navy to find a missing World War I German submarine off the Dutch coast.

A short time earlier, Hydroid’s underwater robots helped French investigators retrieve a key component of one of the flight-data recorders from an Air France jet that had crashed in the Atlantic Ocean.

Hydroid is a subsidiary of Norway-based Kongsberg Maritime.

Chris Reidy can be reached at reidy@globe.com.
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