From 11th to 24th June 2018, the final integration of the SWARMS European project (http://www.swarms.eu) as well as various tests for its validation were carried out in the Trondheim fjord. Furthermore, the final demonstration of the system in the presence of the European Commission took place on 25th and 26th June.
Test area – Trondheim Fjord
The objective of the SWARMs project is to expand and extend the use of underwater and surface vehicles (AUV, ROV, USVs) in order to facilitate the creation, planning and execution of maritime and offshore operations and missions in real time, increasing the autonomy of vehicles and the cooperative work among them. This will allow for reducing the operational cost, increasing the security of the tasks and personnel involved, and expanding the offshore sector.
With this goal, during these three years of the project, an integrated platform has been developed, adopting and incorporating components and specific technical developments both SW and HW into the current generation of underwater and surface vehicles (AUVs, ROVs, USVs, buoy) to improve the autonomy, robustness and reliability of maritime operations.
In the final demonstration of the SWARMs system, carried out in the Trondheim fjord, the fully integrated platform (multiple technologies and several vehicles: three LAUVs, one AUV, one ROV and one USV) as well as the different functionalities of the system such as the creation, monitoring, supervision, control and management of different maritime missions performed autonomously by the vehicles, were validated from a Command and Control Station located onshore at the Trondheim Biological Station (TBS).
Some of the missions performed and successfully validated with the European Commission were a plume monitoring and detection mission or a detailed seabed inspection mission among others.
During the execution of all the missions the correct data exchanging in real time (sending missions, specific tasks and commands, reception and monitoring of vehicle status, communication status, notifications and other relevant information) between the robotic sea vehicles and the Command and Control Station through the developed SWARMS communications network (integration of acoustic and radio communication networks) was verified and validated.
TTI, as a member of the SWARMs consortium, has developed and implemented the SWARMS radio communication network that allows and ensures the transfer of data and information between the different robots/vehicles (underwater and surface) and the Command and Control Station located ashore as well as its monitoring in real time (network status and its main parameters, involved surface nodes or connected clients among others). TTI has also participated in the acoustic and radio communication networks integration tasks and in the definition of the SWARMs network architecture.
The implemented and validated radio communication system is robust, reliable, stable against the interferences generated in maritime environments, highly modular and scalable depending on the needs of the mission and maritime scenarios (different topologies and network configurations based on the nodes and complexity network) and it provides high performance (wide coverage range and high data transfer rates in real time).
Command and Control Station located at TBS – radio communication equipment
Radio communication equipment installed on board of the USV
Radio communications equipment installed on the support boats: left) Marine, right) Sinus
Radio communications equipment installed on the support boats, Lille Gunnerus
Underwater vehicles involved in the tests: LAUVs, Naiad AUV and BlueRov ROvs
USV and support boats in the test area, Trondheim fjord
USV and LAUVs in the test area, Trondheim fjord
SWARMs team in the final demonstration with the European Commission