GOAL: Development of an innovative robotized solution for
performing seabed seismic acquisitions through the
deployment of low-cost autonomous underwater vehicles acting as self-propelled recording nodes.
This contract represents a very emblematic example of Graal Tech R&D partnership, as it required multi-disciplinary contributions from all the different expertises within the Company team.
The main effort was spent for designing the vehicle mechatronics.
Different versions were released during the contract period, with a continuos improvement of efficiency and performance. Together with more conventional engineering solutions, some peculiar challenges of the considered application required the identification of innovative actuating and sensing devices, that were conceived, developed and tested with ad-hoc experiments and mock-ups.
In parallel with the mechatronic developments, two Graal Tech software teams were in charge of realizing the on-board control system and the software for the control station.
The former team developed a real-time architecture, characterized by extreme flexibility, in order to allow an easy management of all the new mechatronic devices and functionalities that were introduced, at different phases, during the project. In addition it had also to deal with control problems concerning the vehicle navigation in a negative buoyant configuration, and had to introduce mechanisms for managing the acoustic-based localization and communication capabilities.
The second software team realized an intuitive and ergonomic graphical user interface, running on both Linux and Windows platforms, and allowing a not expert user to drive each robot separately, to define and download missions, and to on-line monitor their execution.
Finally intense testing activities were performed during all the phases of the project, on the different vehicle releases and on single components, in various operative conditions: in lab, in pool, in a tank with sand, at sea, in lake, in rough waters.