Unscripted: Science and Engineering Research

Be Brief: Shipwreck

By Allison Mills | Published

The Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC) uses underwater robots and sonar to find and image sunken ships.

Drone is to autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) as spelunking is to caving. One term over the other marks you as in the know-how. And our GLRC researchers know how to work an AUV.

This summer, Jamey Anderson, Chris Pinnow and Guy Meadows are working with archeologists from the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary of NOAA to use AUVs to map submerged artifacts to very high standards.  Using the GLRC's IVER3 AUV with the advanced EdgeTech 2205 sonar system, the team has been able to provide ultra-high resolution acoustic images of historic shipwrecks.

Here is the John J. Audubon, which sank in Lake Huron in 1854 in 180 feet of water and now within the NOAA's marine sanctuary boundaries.

Using sonar, the IVER3 AUV can image ships like the John J. Audubon that sits hundreds of feet underwater.
Using sonar, the IVER3 AUV can image ships like the John J. Audubon that sits hundreds of feet underwater.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 60 countries around the world. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our beautiful campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.