ECA Group is currently involved in an European project called SWARMs (Smart and Networking Underwater Robots in Cooperation Meshes) in order to develop several innovative solutions.
SWARMs is a wide European project that started in July 2015 with 35 partners from 10 European countries to last three years. The total cost of this project is €17.3 million (EU funding: €6.4 million and national funding: €5.7 million). This sprawling project aims to develop several innovative solutions such as: New cooperative autonomous meshes using heterogeneous robotics system (for example: AUVs, ROVs, and USVs); real time environmental recognition and sensing system; advanced decision making environment system based on imaging recognition algorithm; and an underwater communication framework.
ECA Group, who has been with SWARMs from the very beginning, is in charge of three different workpackages, also thanks to its long and recognised expertise in developing underwater robotics system for more than 45 years. ECA Group
is providing innovative environmental recognition and sensing based on a large scale 3D mapping, map fusion, and simplification.
In this context, ECA Group is fielding its A9 AUV equipped with an interferometric sidescan sonar and an embedded computer with the goal of analysing the quality of the depth soundings, in real time, to modify mission parameters optimising the quality of the survey. Additionally, ECA Group is involved in algorithms for sonar image registration to improve positioning and navigation during repeated missions over the same area by one or multiple vehicles of different kinds.
This month, ECA will participate in underwater tests in the Canaries Islands, with the A9 AUV, in order to approve scientific and theorical input of the past year.
The main goal of SWARMs is to make AUVs, ROVs and USVs further accessible and useful, making autonomous maritime and offshore operations a viable option for new and existent industries.