Self-Adapting Trail Blaizers

News - 09 November 2023

This smoothly moving orange object is probably not what most people imagine a robot to look like, yet that is what it is โ€“ a smart underwater robot. Or, in more official terms, it is an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) or unmanned maritime system. These systems can be used for a range of safety and security-related operations, such as checking and protecting pipelines lying on the seabed (like the Nord Stream gas pipeline), underwater surveillance in ports, cleaning up sea mines, and anti-submarine warfare. They have the potential to take over lengthy and labour-intensive missions from navy ship crews and divers, which would be especially welcome in dangerous areas. Crucial to their success is a seamless integration in the wireless and diverse network of surface ships, submarines, and sensor nodes. However, timely disclosure of the โ€˜big dataโ€™ collected underwater (e.g., sonar tracks and photos) to operators above water via a surface gateway is difficult, as the wave motion of the sea surface creates a delay/Doppler-spread effect. TU Delft (Richard Hendriks), NLDA (Richard Heusdens) and TNO are collaborating to solve such challenges.