System Architecture and Communication Infrastructure for the RoboVaaS project

by   Emanuele Coccolo, et al.

Current advancements in waterborne autonomous systems, together with the development of cloud-based service-oriented architectures and the recent availability of low-cost underwater acoustic modems and long-range above water wireless devices, enabled the development of new applications to support ships and port activities. Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) can, for instance, be used to perform bathymetry and environmental data collection tasks to ensure under-keel clearance and to monitor the quality of the water. Similarly, Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) can be deployed to inspect ship hulls and typical port infrastructure elements, such as quay and sheet pilling walls. In this paper we present the complete system deployed for the small-scale demonstrations of the Robotic Vessels as-a-Service (RoboVaaS) project, which introduces an on-demand service-based cloud system that dispatches Unmanned Vehicles (UVs) capable of performing the required service either autonomously or piloted. These vessels are able to interact with sensors deployed in the port and with the shore station through an integrated underwater and above water network. The developed system has been validated through sea trials and showcased through an underwater sensor data collection service. The results of the test presented in this paper provide a proof-of-concept of the system design and indicate its technical feasibility. It also shows the need for further developments for a mature technology allowing on-demand robotic maritime assistance services in real operational scenarios.


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