University of Michigan students were recently in the area for some underwater research. Katie Stepp, owner of Michigan Boat Rentals in Port Huron, said an underwater research team from the University of Michigan recently chartered a pontoon boat from her company. The group from the University of Michigan was testing low cost underwater autonomous mapping technology. On their website, the group explains that current technology is expensive and only effective in depths around 3500 feet. Much of the ocean below those depths, according to the group, remains unexplored. The group brought a test vehicle to the area that weighs 45 pounds and is just over 3 feet long. It can operate at a depth of nearly 20,000 feet. The AUV (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle) costs about $30,000 to build and is easily assembled using off the shelf parts. The group believes the vehicle will have commercial applications for deep sea fishing and underwater mining to name a few.