RIVERWATCH - Cooperating robots for monitoring of riverine environments
RIVERWATCH aims at the development of an autonomous multi-robot system for ecological monitoring of riverine environments. The multi-robot system will be composed of an autonomous surface vehicle (ASV) with an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) piggybacked on it. The UAV overcomes the limitations imposed from observing the environment from the low vantage point provided by the ASV. Conversely, the ASV being equipped with a solar panel is able to perform energy harvesting for itself and for the UAV, which is a key factor for a long-lasting operation.
The project will exploit this symbiotic partnership by covering perception, navigation, coordination, and technological integration aspects. A particular aspect to be taken into account is the interaction of robots to take the best of the complementary visual perspectives they have of the environment. The goal is to use an aerial perspective to promote on-water safe navigation. In the application scenario, the robotic team, moving downriver, assesses a series of environmental variables. In case a pollution indicator is triggered the aerial platform is asked to perform a local survey. This information is passed on to a remote control centre, where a human operator is monitoring and configuring the mission.
RIVERWATCH is expected to impact on scientific (novel perception, navigation, and coordination algorithms), technological (novel autonomous multi-robot integrated platform), and application (novel environmental application scenario) dimensions.