Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Ocean Engineering


Ocean Engineering

First Advisor

Stephen C. Licht


This thesis details the development of a novel propulsion system for unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV's) inspired by the punting locomotion of the `Little Skate'. The hybrid legged, gliding and punting gait is a potential enabling technology for UUV access to complex littoral environments. Design, development and initial trials with the prototype vehicle are presented. A combination of video motion capture and on-board inertial sensing is validated and used for preliminary analysis of a limited set of punting gaits. The results indicate the importance of matching vehicle morphology and kinematics to achieve effective locomotion and that the prototype is viable to be used as a validation tool for a general punting dynamic model that is in development. A practical method for modeling the vehicle is also presented with results comparing the model to experimental trials.