ECA demos new robotics features
ECA Group has demonstrated two new features on an experimental model of its A9-E AUV as part of the EU-funded Smart and Networking Underwater Robots in Cooperation Meshes (SWARMs) project, the company announced on 18 July.
The at-sea demonstration was held in the Black Sea port of Mangalia, Romania, earlier this month.
The modifications on the AUV included an extra acoustic modem with network protocols from Evologics fitted in a modified front payload section, and advanced autonomy interface onboard computing capabilities.
The new modem enables the integration of the A9-E AUV in a multiple access underwater communication network. The use of this multiple access acoustic network deconflicts the use of multiple vehicles operating in the same area. Using a USV as a Wi-Fi and RF gateway, status vector including AUV position and speed was successfully displayed on the topside SWARMS multi-vehicle mission management tool.
The advanced autonomy interface was developed to allow mission parameters to be adapted on the fly. A real-time quality analysis and control of a bathymetric survey was conducted using a Klein 3500 interferometric side-looking sonar. Quality factors were extracted in real-time from the raw sonar data.
The factors measured the interferometric baseline decorrelation, which can result from many factors including reduced signal to noise or multipath interference in shallow water and degrades the accuracy of the depth soundings. The altitude of the survey was adapted to between 4m and 6m to minimise the baseline decorrelation and to increase the accuracy of the soundings.
The three-year SWARM project invovles partners from ten European countries. It aims to develop innovative solutions and increase knowledge levels in underwater robotics.
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