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Projects and Protocols

The R&D activities of the Oceans Systems Group are organized in projects and protocols, resulting either from funding by governmental agencies or from contracts with industrial partners. The group also organizes undergraduate projects for student training.

ICARUS (2012-2016)

Integrated Components for Assisted Rescue and Unmanned Search operations

The main goal of this EU-FP7 project (SEC-2011.4.2-2) is to bridge the gap between the robotic technology available in laboratories and research institutions and the use of that technology on Search and Rescue operations, both in urban and maritime scenarios.

The project is lead by the Royal Military Academy (Belgium) and INESC TEC is the leader of the work packages related to the development and field demonstration of maritime platforms.

>> more information

Deployment of unmanned capsule
for the ICARUS Project,
La spezia, Italy, July 2013

Cooperative operation of Zarco and Gama ASVs,
August 2012

TriMARES AUV trials in Crestuma,
June 2011

TriMARES AUV in pool tests,
Porto, June 2011

MARES AUV surfacing after a monitoring operation,
Foz do Arelho, November 2007

Zarco in Douro River, December 2006

Zarco ASV in Douro river, December 2005

MARES AUV in pool tests, September 2006

Zarco in Douro River, December 2006

MARES AUV and navigation buoy in field tests,
Douro river, October 2007


COGNAT (2011-2013)

Cooperative Glider Navigation and Acoustic Tomography

The main objectives of the COGNAT project were to demonstrate an acoustic tomography system based on an autonomous underwater glider towing an acoustic array and, at the same time, use data from the tomography system to improve the accuracy of the glider position estimate.

In this project, a commercially available glider was modified to tow an acoustic array, which geometry was estimated using distributed pressure and tilt sensors. The glider computational system stores information from the acoustic array synchronized with the acoustic source (using GPS clock). At the end of the mission, this information is fused together with the internal navigation data, using smoothing techniques, so that the glider position throughout the mission can be accurately determined.

Partner institutions

Lajeado (2011-2014)

Geo-referenced monitoring of dams with autonomous underwater vehicle

The main goal of this project is the development of an intelligent system for automatic underwater inspection and monitoring of dams. The system is based on an autonomous underwater vehicle equipped with sensors that acquires geo-reference data. Collected data can be processed in real time or stored for later analysis.

The project is funded by the Brazilian hydropower company CEB Lajeado. The main contractor is Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora, Brazil, and INESC TEC major responsabilities are the development of an automonous inspection underwater vehicle TRIMARES as well as the integration of payload sensors on board the vehicle, and the development of the positioning, navigation, and control systems of the vehicle.


Robonoise (2013)

Acoustic Noise Measurement with Robotic Vehicles

The objective of this project is to demonstrate the use of marine robotic vehicles to map the acoustic noise in regions where the noise sources have a wide spatial and temporal variability.

For this project a Slocum Electric glider operated by INESC TEC was modified to carry an acoustic register and programmed to executed a set of autonomous missions and record underwater noise in a predefined area.


WWECO (2008-2011)

Environmental Assessment and Modeling of Wastewater Discharges using Autonomous Underwater Vehicles Bio-optical Observations

The main goal of this project is the development of methods to improve environmental impact assessment and modelling capabilities of wastewater discharges using optical observations.

Some of the developments of the project include an adaptive sampling approach for the MARES AUV and an automatic data processing system that will enable a quicker response in case of contamination risk to near-by beaches.

Partner institutions

>> more information

SIMPES (2007-2008)

Integrated System for Routine and Emergency Monitoring of Sewage Outfall Plumes

The major goal of this project was the development of a prototype of an integrated system for routine and emergency monitoring of sewage outfall plumes.

The final system is based on an AUV and combines the most recent innovations in underwater robotics, ocean sensors technology and data modeling and processing, to provide an advanced instrument for environment monitoring and protection.

>> more information


INCORP (2005-2008)

Improved Navigation with Cooperative Robotic Platforms

The main goal of the project was the development and testing of an infrastructure to improve navigation capabilities of AUVs operating in shallow waters, following the concept of a moving acoustic network.

Besides the design and the construction of the Zarco ASV, which can act as a moving acoustic beacon, different navigation methodologies and algorithms were developed and tested.

>> more information


SIMES (2006-2007)

AUV Based Environmental Monitoring

This protocol was established between Ocean Systems Group (FEUP/ISR) and Įguas do Oeste with the goal of customizing the MARES AUV for environmental monitoring campaigns.

This customization included the integration of a CTD (condutivity, temperature, and depth) sensor and the development of the vehicle onboard software.


MUV (2004-2007)

Navigation and Control for Multiple Underwater Vehicles

This project addressed the development of control and navigation algorithms for the coordinated operation of multiple AUVs sharing a common acoustic positioning network.

The theoretical results of this project were demonstrated in operational scenarios using the vehicles and the acoustic positioning network developed by the Ocean Systems Group.

>> more information


Participation in other projects

Researchers of the Ocean Systems Group participate in the following R&D projects led by other groups or institutions:

  • FASt - FEUP Autonomous Sailboat (2007-)

  • PISCIS - Prototype of an Integrated System for Coastal-waters Intensive Sampling (2002-2004)

  • IES - Inspection of Underwater Infra-structures (1999-2002)




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