|Thesis (S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, 2009. === Includes bibliographical references (p. 111-115). === The design and construction of a modular test bed autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) is analyzed. Although a relatively common stacked-hull design is used, the state of the art is advanced through an aggressive power plant, with capability to support azimuthing thrusters and a 2DOF front sensor assembly. Through an application of lean principles to developmental hardware, the notion of a delayed differentiation is isolated as a key to minimizing rework and creating essentially transparent electronic hardware. Additionally, the use of bus-modular structural and electronic interconnects facilitates reconfiguration of the vehicle across a large range of components, allowing the rapid development of new sensors, control algorithms, and mechanical hardware. Initial wet tests confirm basic data acquisition capabilities and allowed sensor fusion of scanning sonar returns at the beam level with data from an IMU for an orientation-corrected sonar mosaic. === by Daniel G. Walker. === S.M.