Scientists train the world’s first «fleet» of marine drones

Scientists train the world's first
UAVs can communicate among themselves, and use artificial intelligence form the Supervisory underwater network

Not so long ago in the Mediterranean port of Toulon scientists tested underwater drones developed in different countries, reports phys.org.

Under the supervision of the owner-developer, whose eyes were glued to the monitors, in Toulon was tested first in the world fleet of underwater «sea drones.»

5 European countries — France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal — for 4 years developed standards experienced divers drones. Goal of European utilities that cost four million euros — to build a team of underwater unmanned rovers.

Drones launched from the ship and sent to various locations in the region. They are able to communicate among themselves, and use artificial intelligence form the Supervisory underwater network.

Using cameras and echo sounders, unmanned posodeystvuyut researchers make 3D underwater terrain maps that will be an indispensable to oceanographers, archaeologists, and oil and gas extraction, ecologists, marine biologists, not counting this development can be applied in several other areas.

Most crucial will be drones for naval forces, as elastic network malehankih, hard-to-unmanned submarines would multiply the ability to track mines and other threats at times.

«Underwater bots — it’s not brand new development, we worked on creating them for many years — says Vincent Rigaud, managing development department of underwater systems in L’Institut Francais de Recherche pour l’Exploitation de la Mer (Ifremer), one of the the main centers of Oceanography in the world. — What is really new — so it is an autonomous fleet. «

This achievement means to overcome the 2-main problems with marine drones, explains Rigaud.

First — software: the creation of artificial intelligence drones and programs that enable them to cooperate and be controlled with uncertainty of the marine environment — tides and currents.

2nd — communication. Drones can talk together and their manager using radio transmitters. But radio waves do not go under the water, because the only possibility of communication for maritime UAVs is sound.

Almost like a pack of dolphins «talk» together, bots use acoustic signals to share information and make annotations manager — and as shown experiments, it is not easy.

Communication is a frustratingly long time, because the data flow is very leisurely and unreliable voice link is abandoned by other noise sources such as ship sails past the noise or even restless sea.

«It’s like a return to the old modems in computers century heyday, — said Pere Reed Institute of Girona in Spain. — Maximum speed of the audio stream about 100 thousand times slower than ordinary ADSL connection. Requires a few minutes to send a picture. «

During a mission in the bots would be a single card the underwater landscape, showing the main obstacles to be avoided, but further each UAV must act without the help of others, within the boundaries of designated properties.

What they behold the scanned and stored in onboard memoirs, which can be downloaded after the boats return to the hands of scientists. Massive computers will interpret the initial data into common reports.

«Drones are not related to the physical level, but almost tied — said Antonio Paskoal, teacher at the Higher Technical Institute of Portugal. — The idea is that they could adapt to the geometry of the sea without human intervention. «

The program, named MORPH (marine automatic system self-organization of logically related physical nodes), was launched in February 2012 with the support of the European Commission. Role in the project perceived two scientists from 30 European states 5.

Drones are still at an early stage of readiness. Created several design options for different needs and different missions.

Italians, for example, made a 31-kilogram car in the form of a torpedo-stickleback, which can run for eight hours at a depth of 80 meters. In Spain, have developed a 200-kilogram Girona 500, which includes three design round pipe, driven by double screws which can operate at depths up to 500 meters, and for eight hours.

After the first tests an international team of researchers and developers continue to work on the formation of the «fleet», in turn eliminating the huge number of flaws that will inevitably emerge at this stage of the project.


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