Submarines with IoT: Internet of Underwater Things

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Submarines with IoT: Internet of Underwater Things

Marine archeologists at Archeosub, an Italian have developed an new type of submarine with IoT, the “Archeosub”, have embarked on a new project to build a new generation of robotic submarines, or autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), for marine archaeologists. Instead of electronmagnetic waves which do not work well in water, the vehicles use acoustic waves, which are affected by depth, temperature, salinity and surface wind, to communicate over long distances below the surface. At close range, AUVs can share data over light beams.

But more creative solutions are also envisaged, where an AUV working on the seabed offloads data to a second which then surfaces and beams it home by satellite link. Work is underway on AUVs that can beam pictures from the seabed over acoustic waves, and dock with others that charge them up. Surface buoys that receive GPS signals tell the AUVs where they are.
Benedetto Allotta, head of industrial engineering at the University of Florence, describes the project as “constructing an Internet of Underwater Things”. Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh has contributed a marine version of Dropbox for the underwater IoT that allows AUVs to share information from seafloor scans and other data. If an AUV spies an intriguing object on the seabed on a first pass survey, it can share the coordinates with a nearby AUV that carries better cameras and sonar, and arrange for a closer inspection once it has left the area. Allotta hopes to have the first test results from the Archeosub project in the summer. “Right now, we don’t have the right technology to give to archaeologists,” he said. “But we are close.”

Author: Tim Cole
Image Credit: Archeosub

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