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
- to disseminate and demonstrate the encompassed
technologies as well as define prospective exploitation
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
- 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
- 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,