The EUR 17 million SWARMs European project is developing autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) which are expected to reduce the risks associated with the construction and repair of offshore platforms, offshore wind turbines, and other underwater structures, Acciona, one of the participants in the project, said.
These AUVs will be able to perform complex review and repair operations on underwater structures by using artificial intelligence.
They will be able to work together in groups, or swarms, hence the project name, communicating via acoustic modems, thus eliminating the need for cables or human controllers.
The project involves 30 companies, universities and technology institutes from ten European countries: Spain, Germany, France, Portugal, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Romania, Turkey, and Italy.
Apart from Acciona, participants include multinationals from different industries such as Leonardo, Thales, Bosch, Boskalis, Tecnalia; and universities such as Madrid Technical University, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Mälardalen University Sweden and Aveiro University.
The technology has been tested in three use cases in Spain, Romania and Norway. The first tests were carried out at the PLOCAN marine laboratory, executed by Acciona, in Gran Canaria, where the validity of the technology was verified in terms of both robotics and telecommunications.
The project also includes designing a video-game-like user interface designed to enable vehicles to be managed without the need for specific training in robotics.