VERTEX™

VERTEX™ – the most sophisticated and portable autonomous underwater drone swarm to deliver stunning 3D detail of water volume at a 10 to 100x less of a cost of traditional methods

Getting high resolution and timely data underwater still remains a challenge today largely because satellites cannot penetrate the surface of water, making water not accessible to remote monitoring like air.  While some progress has been made with surface vehicles, current technologies for measurement and collection of data underwater are largely inefficient, bulky and costly.

This significantly limits our understanding of the ocean and estuary environments, its spatial and temporal changes are hard to detect and analyze with spot measurements or single vehicles.

Our goal is to obtain 3D in-situ data instead of just a single measurement, and to do it faster, cheaper and easier than traditional profiling. The only way to get temporally consistent snapshots across a water volume is to deploy as many sensors in parallel as possible.

Our drones are designed to carry these sensors to where they need to be and efficiently scan a body of water simultaneously collecting thousands of data points.  Our proprietary acoustic hardware and dynamic algorithms complete the Vertex system that can be deployed in tens or even hundreds.  The ocean is the limit.

Features

Up to 8 hours of autonomy

Advanced swarm communication

Modular design

Multiple sensor payload

Infinitely scalable

Smart precise localization technology

Applications

Aquaculture

Dredging, Dams & Delta Management

Water Column Surveying & Mapping

Offshore Energy

Scientific & Exploration Measurements

Would you like to discuss your application?

Videos

Hydromea teaser intro

Hydromea under ice

Hydromea & EPFL Lago Cadagno 2017 Campaign

Hydromea - AUV first dive

System overview

Designed for scalability

Currently, AUVs are prohibitively expensive for many applications, and often too big and heavy to take along without specialized infrastructure. Therefore AUVs are not widely used, and most AUV operators only have one unit. We are going to change that.

The VERTEX AUV was specifically designed from the ground up for scalability: mass-produceable at an affordable cost, small and light for easy deployment in large numbers, and equipped with an array of novel communication and localization technology to cooperate as a team.

Modular design

The electronics and mechanical components are highly modular. This allows us to quickly replace or upgrade components, adapt the electrical interfaces and weight balance to new payload sensors, and easily adapt the configuration for each mission according to requirements.

The default sensor payload is the EXO2 system from YSI, which is also very modular – the 7 ports can be loaded with any of the available sensors from the EXO2 range to suit each deployment’s requirements. Alternative sensors can be integrated on request by adapting our exchangeable payload front plate.

Modular design

The electronics and mechanical components are highly modular. This allows us to quickly replace or upgrade components, adapt the electrical interfaces and weight balance to new payload sensors, and easily adapt the configuration for each mission according to requirements.

The default sensor payload is the EXO2 system from YSI, which is also very modular – the 7 ports can be loaded with any of the available sensors from the EXO2 range to suit each deployment’s requirements. Alternative sensors can be integrated on request by adapting our exchangeable payload front plate.

Advanced swarm communication and localization

We developed a unique low-frequency radio system designed for robotic swarms, that connects the underwater robots as a multi-hop radio network. Advanced distributed scheduling algorithms prevent interference and maximise communication throughput.

Furthermore, we added a novel distributed acoustic localization system that allows each AUV to triangulate its position with respect to the other AUVs in the fleet. By combining this system with the communication network and a GPS receiver that obtains a position whenever any of the AUVs is at the surface, each robot gets continuous position information – no additional infrastructure required. The AUVs are also equipped with radio and 3G for surface communication.

The unique combination of scalable communication and localization techniques enables us to implement sophisticated swarm and formation control algorithms. By cooperating as a team, our fleet of submarines can respond adaptively to measured gradients, e.g. to find the source of a spill or follow a plume to determine its size.

Agile 3D navigation

The VERTEX AUV is equipped with 5 of our proprietary, patented thrusters, making it agile and highly manoeuverable. With three stabilisation thrusters and two forward thrusters, the submarine can rotate freely around 3 axes and hold depth even when stationary.

Any 3D trajectory can be followed precisely at up to 1 m/sec (2 knots). Our advanced navigation autopilot automatically guides the submarine to predefined waypoints (GPS location and depth) that are uploaded in advance via the mission planning software.

Agile 3D navigation

The VERTEX AUV is equipped with 5 of our proprietary, pat. pending thrusters, making it agile and highly manoeuverable. With three stabilisation thrusters and two forward thrusters, the submarine can rotate freely around 3 axes and hold depth even when stationary.

Any 3D trajectory can be followed precisely at up to 1 m/sec (2 knots). Our advanced navigation autopilot automatically guides the submarine to predefined waypoints (GPS location and depth) that are uploaded in advance via the mission planning software.

Jobs to be done

Vertex can be fitted with a multitude of miniaturized electronic devices to collect data, either it’s a camera for video and images, a sonar for bathymetric studies or sensors for environmental surveying.

Up to 7 sensors can be used simultaneously, such as:

Conductivity, Temperature, Depth / Pressure
Ammonium
Chloride
Optical Dissolved Oxygen
fDOM
Nitrate
pH
pH/ORP
Chlorophyll/BGA-PC
Chlorophyll/BGA-PE
Turbidity

Alternative Sensors on request.

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