RIVERWATCH is an ECHORD funded, collaborative environmental monitoring robotic team comprised of an Autonomous Surface Vehicle and piggybacking Unmanned Aerial Vehicle designed to extend the reach of data gathering efforts.
The ASV is catamaran-like vehicle equipped with 3D mapping and path planning, through its tilting laser, sonar, GPS and IMU sensors which can differentiate between water and land through optical-flow and water appearance cues. While the UAV hexacopter provides validation of this information and extends the field of view. The UAV is able to piggyback on the ASV through co-operative visual tracking from both agents, it is capable of performing vertical take-off and landings.
Through the use of both sea and air navigation, the autonomous couple are able to navigate long distances in all weather conditions though the use of the USV with the UAV providing a more detailed view of the environment and an alternative view. Through this sensor-fusion of co-operating units a very detailed map of the surroundings can be acquired, and capture a wealth of data of the waterways and surrounding coastlines.
Not only is the accompanying UAV’s alternative perspective useful for collecting more information on the environments it also provides this information to the USV for far-field navigation. RIVERWATCH started as an experiment within the ECHORD project (FP7-ICT-231143).
For more information check out the official page for the project.