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Piscis - prototype of an integrated system for coastal ocean intensive sampling.

Development of a low cost, highly operational prototype
system based on multiple autonomous underwater vehicles for
environmental/oceanographic data sampling in coastal waters
with adequate spatial-temporal resolution.

The global objectives of the project are: - to design and implementation of a prototype system for oceanographic and environmental data sampling based on autonomous underwater vehicles. - to demonstrate the technical and economic viability of oceanographic and environmental data sampling satisfying specified spatial and temporal resolution requirements. This will make the adjacent R&D activities commercially exploitable. - to disseminate and demonstrate the encompassed technologies as well as define prospective exploitation plans. The partial technical objectives are described below. They are defined following an approach of increasing risk which enables the execution of a sequence of operational missions of increasing complexity to be started very early in the project schedule. A Systems Engineering Process enabling the mapping of the stated objectives and constraints into a system-solution satisfying the requirements and the technological constraints will be adopted and be essential to ensure the effectiveness of the technical project reviews. The partial objectives consist of the design and development of the following: - Overall system. This includes the specification of the hardware and software architecture as well as the interface between the various components and subsystems. - Basic vehicle. This consists in a mechanical structure as well as the computational infrastructure and software. The original structure of the REMUS vehicle produced by the WOODS HOLE OCEANOGRAPHIC INSTITUTION, MA, USA, will be substantially modified in order to overcome its main weaknesses and improve its overall performance in the execution of the missions underlying the envisaged applications. - Navigation and control. Novel guidance and control algorithms will be designed and implemented allowing the motion of multiple vehicles to be coordinated. - Acoustic positioning system. This system consists of a network of transponders allowing the simultaneous localisation of multiple vehicles. This objective includes either the pre-deployment of the transponder network or its use on-the-fly. - Sensory payload data-based guidance system. This objective will be achieved by integrating into the vehicle a system making possible the autonomous definition of trajectories on the basis of the gathered payload data. - Integrated operational system. This objective corresponds to the capability of performing missions involving more than one vehicle, possibly with different configurations, thus allowing a rapid coverage of a given volume of water with different sensors. - Docking station and autonomous data gathering system. This objective will enable the continuous gathering of data in a region of the ocean via the permanent operation of underwater vehicles that, whenever required, will dock at a docking station in order to charge batteries, download the collected data and upload new missions. This device will also have data gathering capabilities. - Prototype. This is composed of a set of subsystems the tangible expression of the above-mentioned objectives which can be reconfigured in order to accomplish the envisaged set of missions. The technical and scientific strategy underlying the project is characterized by the transfer of the technologies developed by FEUP and ISR to ensure the autonomous operation of the REMUS vehicle, namely, those associated to the computational environment, sensory data integration and the design and development of systems for operation management, control, navigation, and positioning, that ensure the autonomous operation of the REMUS underwater vehicle is a key point of the project's technical strategy which contributes to minimize the technical risk exposure. A second important point of the project's strategy involves the acquisition of the vehicle mechanical structure which will speed the prototype development. Another advantage consists of the integration of the above- mentioned technologies with recent sensing technologies in a low-cost, computational environment based on an open systems approach. Contrasting with the existing commercially available systems, this approach not only facilitates the system's maintenance and enables its reconfigurability to a wide variety of application contexts, but will also supports its future upgrading. The project tasks include several dissemination activities anddemonstrations of results that will promote the technology transfer and the future exploitation of the project results. These activities are further motivated and promoted by the members of a large follow-up panel that includes some of the major Portuguese potential end-users of the project results. Keywords: underwater sampling, autonomous systems, underwater vehicles.
Acronym: 
PISCIS
Project ID: 
1 993
Start date: 
01-12-2002
Project Duration: 
36months
Project costs: 
1 120 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Environmental Engineering / Technology
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.