From 22nd to 30th September 2016, the Early Trials (first stage of field trials demonstration) of the SWARM European project (http://www.swarms.eu/) took place at the PLOCAN’s facilities, located in the East coast of Gran Canary Island (Spain).
The overall goal of the SWARMs project is to expand the use of underwater and surface vehicles (AUVs, ROVs, USVs) to facilitate the creation, planning and execution of maritime and offshore operations and missions, increasing the autonomy and enabling AUVs/ROVs to work in a cooperative mesh thus opening up new applications. This will reduce the operational costs, increase the safety of tasks and of involved individuals, and expand the offshore sector.
During these 9 days, exhaustive tests and proof of concepts in order to validate the different technological developments and functionalities made during the first year of the project were done in real environment scenario, (harbor and open sea). All these tests were organized in 7 different missions focused on the following topics in the project:
- Mission 1: Sensing – Bathymetric sensor and seabed mapping
- Mission 2: Communications – HF underwater data transfer
- Mission 3: Communications – Shore – USV communication
- Mission 4: Communications – AUV-USV/surface communication
- Mission 5: Middleware – Simulation of ROV-Shore-USV data transfer
- Mission 6: Simulation & User Interface- Simulation of models for vehicles, sensors and manipulators
- Mission 7: Simulation – Mission planning with several vehicles
TTI, which is responsible for the design and development of radio communication network among others, was the leader of the mission 3, testing in several sea operative conditions, different communication functionalities between the surface nodes in the SWARMS network (command and control station on shore, ships, USV, buoy).
Additionally, TTI together with other partners participated in the 1st SWARMS Technical Review (held on 30th September) with the European Commission where a final demonstration was performed with the integration of underwater acoustic sub-network and overwater sub-network. This demo consisted in transferring data from/to an end underwater node terminal at sea (passing through other 6 underwater nodes) to/from the remote Command and Control station onshore together with a real-time video streaming using two different air data links (overwater network).
The obtained results were good and satisfactory, for both overwater and underwater networks concerning all targets and validating the initially defined requirements. This will represent the basis for building up to the final SWARMS communication network and for the next validation scenario in Black Sea, Romania, next year 2017.
Some of the vehicles used in the Early Trials. SWARMs team in the Early Trials.
SWARMs team in the Early Trials