Vertex: A New Distributed Underwater Robotic Platform for Environmental Monitoring

  • Felix Schill
  • Alexander Bahr
  • Alcherio Martinoli
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Advanced Robotics book series (SPAR, volume 6)


We present a new Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) system for cooperative environmental sensing. The AUV was specifically developed as a platform for distributed, cooperative sensing in lakes and coastal areas. In this paper we describe the prerequisite subsystems for a submersible multi-robot system and their interactions. In particular, we incorporate a distributed acoustic localisation system and distributed time-sliced communication systems into an agile, 5-DOF submersible robot that is small, easy to deploy and retrieve, with a modular environmental sensor payload for relevant scientific measurements. We also developed a distributed Hardware-In-the-Loop (HIL) simulation framework to facilitate early testing of algorithms in simulation while running final binary code on the actual robot hardware. To avoid communication overhead and real-time issues, the simulation of the vehicle dynamics and all proprioceptive sensors is performed on-board. Exteroceptive sensors are simulated by vehicle-to-vehicle communication where possible, supported by a central simulation supervisor where required. Finally, we present some preliminary experimental results of the system.



This work has been financially supported over multiple years by the following sponsors (in chronological order): National Competence Center in Research on Mobile Information and Communication Systems (NCCR-MICS), a center supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation under grant number 51NF40-111400, through the Spin Fund project “Serafina - Large Scale Underwater Exploration using Groups of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles”; Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation under Grant No. 16348.1 PFES-ES; the Technology Transfer Office of EPFL, through the Enabling Grant No. TTO 6.1419; FEEL Foundation supported by Ferring Pharmaceuticals, under the project “Ladoga - Life under ice”; and the Swiss National Science Foundation under the Sinergia Grant No. CRSII2_160726/1.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Felix Schill
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alexander Bahr
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alcherio Martinoli
    • 1
  1. 1.Distributed Intelligent Systems and Algorithms Laboratory (DISAL), School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental EngineeringÉcole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)LausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.Hydromea SALausanneSwitzerland

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