BEIJING, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- The first phase of trials on China's independently-developed autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) in the South China Sea has finished, the ocean resource authority announced Friday.
The deep-sea mining exploration vehicle, which is designed to reach depths of up to 4,500 meters, recorded a maximum depth of 4,446 meters over 15 dives spanning 35 days, according to a statement released by the general office of the China Ocean Mineral Resources R&D Association.
Under the supervision of the State Oceanic Administration, the association was set up in 1990 to explore deep-sea development and exploration.
With the ability to detect hydrothermal fluids, as well as photograph and survey terrain and relief, the vehicle will explore sea areas rich in sulfide deposits that contain various metals.
"The trial allowed us to verify certain functions," the statement said. The functionality tested included deployment and retrieval, deep-sea navigation, and optical and acoustic detection.
The vehicle will undergo its second- and third-phase trials in the southwest Indian Ocean in November.