EU SWARMs: Intelligent Cooperation Of Underwater Vehicles With Evologics Modems

By:Maria Pleskach

EvoLogics GmbH, Berlin, Germany, designs and manufactures underwater information and communication systems as well as smart robotic solutions. The company’s core technologies stem from bionic concepts that fuse state-of-the-art engineering with the best ideas found in nature. EvoLogics’ “ecosystem” of products includes several series of underwater acoustic modems, underwater positioning systems (USBL, LBL, SBL), and an advanced framework for developers. Development, research, and innovation are the cornerstones of the company—it is an active collaborator of several EU-funded projects, focusing the efforts on communication and positioning for distributed underwater networks.

Eu Swarms: Intelligent Cooperation Of Underwater Vehicles With Evologics Modems

An exciting example is SWARMs (Smart and Networking Underwater Robots in Cooperation Meshes), an EU project focused on cooperative operation of unmanned underwater vehicles. The SWARMs consortium includes 30 partners from 10 European countries; the collaborators work on unified software and hardware components that will allow heterogeneous AUVs, ROVs, and USVs to link into a smart multimedia sensor network for various automated missions.

The global goal of SWARMs is to make autonomous self-controlled UUV missions more viable for maritime and offshore industries, offering an efficient and versatile solution. Nowadays UUVs are very task specific and hard to operate and their deployment is rather time and cost consuming.

A cooperative swarm of AUVs and ROVs would open new opportunities for industrial operations; instead of a highly specialized vehicle, SWARMs would support several standard vehicle types that combine their functionality to solve most various tasks—from seabed mapping to offshore installations, monitoring, and inspections.

For any cooperative mission, information exchange is crucial. One of the project’s objectives is a communication concept that explores new, innovative technologies, whilst ensuring smooth and reliable operation in a high-latency, dynamic subsea environment. EvoLogics is proud to collaborate with SWARMs on its hardware and software solutions for underwater communication and networking based on the company’s patented S2C technology.

The first stage of the SWARMs field trials took place in September 2016 in the Atlantic (Spain), with 10 days of exhaustive proofs of concepts and validations of the team’s technical approach. Seven missions were conducted, including extensive testing of the communication system’s performance in real-world operation conditions at sea. Obtained results were encouraging, and a final test demonstrated successful integration of an EvoLogics-powered underwater subnetwork with radio frequency and Wi-Fi. The next project milestones are to be validated in the Black Sea (Romania) in 2017.

Meanwhile, EvoLogics works on further improving its S2C technology: S2C 2.0, enhanced with dynamic carrier arrangement, implements novel modulation and demodulation techniques and aims to set new standards for reliable data transfers in the most challenging environmental conditions. The upgraded S2C2.0 product line is to be showcased at Ocean Business 2017 in Southampton, UK along with the company’s other recent developments.

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