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Technology - Systems and Prototypes

A summary of technological achievements that support R&D activities and, at the same time, find a multitude of applications in oceanography and environmental monitoring.

TriMARES AUV

TriMARES is a 3-body autonomous underwater vehicle, based on the MARES design. The vehicle was designed to provided extra payload capability, including high quality video and sonar. The physical arrangement ensures motion smoothness for improved quality in payload and positioning data. Navigation sensors include an IMU, a pressure sensor and an acoustic positioning systems. This vehicle was developed under a contract with a Brazilian power plant company.

Main features:

  • modular construction, with reconfigurable sections

  • spare ports to accomodate payload sensors

  • robust, with fully shrouded moving parts

  • operates in confined areas - can ascend/descend in the vertical

  • 5-dof (surge, sway, heave, yaw, pitch)

  • autonomous operation, with simple mission definition

  • optional fibre-optic umbilical for video transmission (ROV operation)

  • rechargeable Li-Ion batteries

Vehicle specs:

Length

1.3 m

Overall Width

80 cm

Overall Height 50 cm

Weight in Air

75 kg

Depth Rating

100 m

Horizontal Velocity

0-2 m/s, variable

Autonomy/Range

about 10 hrs / 40 km

>> more information

Overview of TriMARES AUV


TriMARES AUV being tested in Crestuma,
June 2011

 

   

MARES AUV

MARES (Modular Autonomous Robot for Environment Sampling) is a highly modular autonomous underwater vehicle, designed for shallow water operations. The vehicle can be configured to carry a wide variety of oceanographic sensors and includes a set of navigation sensors to ensure that the predefined trajectories are followed.

Main features:

  • modular construction, with reconfigurable sections

  • spare ports to accomodate payload sensors

  • compact and lightweight - fits the trunk of a car

  • robust, with fully shrouded moving parts

  • operates in confined areas - can ascend/descend in the vertical

  • autonomous operation, with simple mission definition

  • rechargeable Li-Ion batteries

Vehicle specs:

Length

1.5 m

Diameter

20 cm

Weight in Air

32 kg

Depth Rating

100 m

Horizontal Velocity

0-2 m/s, variable

Autonomy/Range

about 10 hrs / 40 km

>> more information

Overview of MARES AUV

MARES launched off the Portuguese coast,
November 2007

   

Zarco and Gama ASVs

Zarco and Gama are small size autonomous surface vehicles, with a catamaran shape, designed to operate in quiet waters (rivers, lakes, dams). In its basic configuration, each vehicle weights around 50 kg, and has an additional payload capacity of 20 kg. The vehicle is actuated by 2 electrical thrusters and can operate at speeds up to 3 knots. It carries an on-board computer to run fully autonomous or remotely controlled missions, while storing all internal and payload data. A WiFi link connects the ASV to a shore station, allowing for realtime data transmission and mission supervision. 

Main features:

  • modular mechanical structure, using COTS elements

  • separation of major modules without tools

  • spare ports to accomodate payload sensors

  • very stable platform

  • can operate autonomously or remotely controlled

  • realtime transmission of data to shore

Vehicle specs:

Length

1.5 m

Width

1 m

Weight in Air

50 kg

Net Buoyancy

50 kg

Horizontal Velocity

0-3 knts, variable

>> more information about the Zarco ASV

Overview of Zarco ASV

Zarco in Douro River, December 2006

Zarco in Douro river, December 2006

   

Navigation & Instrumentation Buoys

NIBs are moored floating platforms with onboard electronics and energy management system. The basic configuration includes rechargeable Lead-acid batteries, a compact GPS receiver and a low-power radio modem. NIBs can carry a great variety of sensors and transmit data in real time to a shore station using the radio link.

NIBs are used as acoustic navigation beacons for the MARES AUV. In this scenario, they have electronic boards to receive and decode acoustic signals sent by the vehicle and respond by transmitting other coded pings into the water. Since they are deployed in known positions, the vehicle can determine its position by triangulation. During an AUV mission, the buoys also relay navigation information back to a mission control station, allowing for vehicle tracking and mission supervision.

Specifications:

Overall Diameter

75 cm

Weight in Air

30 kg

Net Buoyancy

20 kg

Antenna Height above Seawater

1 m

 

NIB deployed off the Portuguese coast,
November 2007

 

 
 
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