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The Fraunhofer Institute for Optronics, Systems Engineering and Image Evaluation IOSB in Ilmenau and Karlsruhe already presented the Deep Diving AUV for Exploration (DEDAVE) at the Hanover Trade Fair back in 2016. The approximately 3.5 m long unmanned underwater vehicle can dive to a depth of 6000 m, allows easy wiring of the individual components via CAN-BUS system and is designed as a lightweight construction. According to researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute, this makes it suitable for low-cost mass production.

DEDAVE has now been licensed by Kraken Robotics , a Canadian supplier of maritime technology, and renamed ThunderFish Alpha. With the support of Fraunhofer AST employees, the vehicle went in search of crashed Avro Canada CF-105 interceptors in Lake Ontario last summer, whose prototypes had been tested over the lake in the 50s and 60s. The ThunderFish Alpha was programmed for a search area before every dive and explored it using its precise sonar systems. In doing so, the vehicle steered itself completely autonomously and also returned to the starting point on its own, where the collected data was transmitted wirelessly to the scientists’ computer systems.

The first two CF-105s were found in September. The search is scheduled to continue in the coming year, as soon as the weather permits it. Several machines and jet engines were lost during the aircraft’s test flights, and the pieces are probably scattered over a large area of Lake Ontario.