A number of different tasks are nowadays already successfully performed with unmanned robotic platforms. Operations like ocean monitoring and exploration, bathymetric tasks or even inspection of underwater structures, are all good examples of tasks that be performed in an efficient and cost-effective way by AUVs. While the versatility of such platforms brings added benefits, its long term use is still very limited by the energetic autonomy of the vehicles. Therefore, deployment and recovery operations of the vehicle are always necessary, requiring non-negligible amounts of both time and personnel, but also of a support vessel. This leads to a significant impact in the operations costs. Enabling long-term unattended operations, without the need of a support vessel, would dramatically decrease the cost of operating such vehicles, making them more affordable. Persistent and/or long-term deployment of AUVs, for exploration and monitoring tasks, has been foreseen as a future development. The main drive for this project arises from concrete and specific needs for long term monitoring of fish-farm infrastructures. In specific, the use of an AUV for those purposes would, on one side, allow the study of wild fish aggregations in such structures, and on the other allow a more continuous monitoring of the benthos under the fish farms. The development of a new era of technologies that enable the aforementioned tasks are the core of this project, in particular for both contactless underwater power transmission and wireless communications. On top of that, the development of the navigation and control strategies that enable the vehicle to perform its inspection and monitoring activities will complement the key technological challenges of the project.
Project leader: Lars Gansel
Institution: Institutt for biologiske fag Ålesund