The paper presents the dynamic optimization of a biomimetic thruster for autonomuos underwater vehicles with the goal of increasing the energy efficiency of the vehicle. The main design drivers of the project are: to design a propulsion system consisting in an oscillating caudal fin; to generate the motion of the fin by means of a mechanical transmission system; to replicate the effect of elastic internal structures on the propulsion of biological systems. The propulsion mechanism is optimized by means of analytic kinematic and hydrodynamic models, whose accuracy is verified by means of CFD simulation tools. Finally, in order to demonstrate the feasibility of the project, the mechanical design of the propulsion system is illustrated.

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