Boeing has developed an unmanned undersea vehicle (UUV) can launch itself, operate autonomously for several months, and then recover itself. The vehicle, called the Echo Voyager, is powered by a hybrid rechargeable power system. Specific details about how the power system works are not available at this time.
The autonomous submarine will be used for military missions, such as underwater and surface intelligence and reconnaissance, but it could also be used to collect scientific data. It is a “baseline vehicle” with a modular payload bay that accommodate a variety of customers. Since communicating under water poses a major technical challenge (see: Navy Uses Lasers to Carry Radar Signals Through Water), the UUV will rise transmit the data it collects.
Echo Voyager can collect data while at sea, rise to the surface, and provide information back to users in a near real-time environment. Existing UUVs require a surface ship and crew for day-to-day operations. Echo Voyager eliminates that need and associated costs.