A swarm of 120 underwater drones to save Venice


It is during the 2015 EXPO, which takes place in parallel to Milan and Venice the first drones of the subCULTron project were unveiled last October 15-16. This European project is to deploy a swarm of 120 underwater robots connected in the lagoon and canals of “la Serenissima”. The objective is to achieve continuous water quality measurements. A new approach based on a swarm of funny of connected objects that have been directly inspired by biology marine.

A totally robotic marine flora and fauna

Researchers have named them aMussels, fish and aPads with an ‘a’ for ‘artificial’. What are the three types of robots that will be launched in the waters of Venice in 120 copies. The first, the artificialMussel is printed directly the mold that goes if hanging on a rock on the bottom of the lagoon.
Once raised, it opens its shell to expose its antennas and sensors to the marine current. It is she who will store the data collected by the artificialFish inspired by fish, they will browse on different areas and at different depths for their measurements. Finally, the artificialPad, Lily will float to the surface to relay data collected by other robots. APad will have solar panels for feeding and it is expected that the aMussel uses of marine currents to generate its own energy. Researchers point out that software is also inspired by nature, especially the functioning of the swarms of insects or schools of fish. There is no central point, but a collective “intelligence” that governs the behavior of the swarm. If one of the robot is lost, there is no impact on the Group’s work.


The aFish is the first of three underwater drones of the subCULTron project to have been unveiled in Venice.

Initiated in April 2015, the subCULTron project has received funding from the European Union’s EUR 4 million and should be completed in 2019. Among the involved research laboratories, the laboratory of artificial life from the University of Graz in Austria ensures the coordination of forces. The Scola Sant’Anna Italian works on the shutter hardware as well as the Faculty of the University of Zagreb, computer and electrical engineering. The free University of Brussels develops software, ARMINES (France) working on the sensors and communications with Cybertronica Research component. Finally Corila ensures cooperation with Italian researchers based in Venice.
Translation : Bing Translator
Source : “European scientists build up a society of autonomous underwater robots for environmental monitoring of the Venice Lagoon”, subCULTron press release, October 7, 2015


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