Marine Data-Ferrying Using Swarms of Autonomous Underwater Robots to Network Sensor Modules with a Surface Ship

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The emerging field of Ocean Big Data (OBD) aims to create efficient methods of collecting marine data used for military, environmental research, oil & gas, and fishing industries. Traditionally, sensors must be deployed, retrieved and then have their data collected. With the use of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), sensor packets can be placed, recharged and have data collected without being retrieved each time. Our team has modified an OpenROV (an open source AUV) to deploy, retrieve, recharge and collect seismic data from sensor packets. While AUVs are often used for surveying tasks, tasks that require an underwater robot to interact with its environment directly are still manually operated. Our research aims to combine contributions to underwater communications, path planning and swarm robotics to advance the capabilities of underwater robots to perform complex tasks in a challenging environment.