Technical Approach

The SWARMs platform targets to integrate, coordinate and improve the functionalities of the different AUVs/ROVs, and to exchange information with each other by means of a communication network, during the execution of a specifically configured underwater operation regardless its complexity. SWARMs platform is distributed among the different elements taking part in a mission.

The above picture includes the representation of the teleoperation tool (on the upper left corner, and hosted in the vessel represented on the top right side), the distributed intermediation platform, together with the coordination and environment characterization components (represented underwater), as well as the communication network and links, where the yellow dashed lines represent information flow.

A new generation of integrated platform is being designed and developed in SWARMs, which will also be implemented, to facilitate cooperating networked AUVs/ROVs/USVs in order to increase their autonomy in the context of carrying out sophisticated unmanned industrial offshore activities, particularly targeting to support subsea construction systems and providing maintenance assistance.
For this, it is necessary to develop a distributed semantic cognitive open architecture and platform of networked AUV/ROV/USV meshes. The platform will allow exporting the functionalities of the different vehicles as services, which can be composed and orchestrated in order to create new particular services in terms of mission needs. This enables such vehicles, from different manufacturers, to share functionalities in a transparent way, independently of the physical location and the operations to be carried out in the industrial process. Thereby creating and deploying control and management services, and hardware, to assist in the execution of mission’s tasks.
SWARMs entrusts the platform with creating, monitoring, controlling and managing the mission; to (re)distribute, (re)configure, (re)synchronize and (re)plan the activities autonomously in real-time.
SWARMs technical approach considers and targets:

  1. A distributed, integrated and coordinated set of SW/HW components that enable AUVs/ROVs, from different manufactures, to share (integrate) functionalities (robot features) in a transparent way
  2. A distributed set of intelligent components for perception, decision-making and environment recognition capable of assisting the vehicles in characterizing the working environment, including artefacts
  3. Improved communication technologies as a base of cooperation and information exchange among vehicles, as well as the sensing (vision and acoustic) technologies
  4. Enhanced control and management services, and hardware, to assist in the execution of mission’s tasks, entrusting SWARMs platform with creating, monitoring, controlling and managing the mission’s activities autonomously in real-time


Work Packages

To achieve the proposed objectives in SWARMs, the necessary work to be developed within the project is arranged in nine different Work Packages, as listed below.

  • WP1 – Management
  • WP2 – Autonomous operations design: Requirements, design methodology, verification and validation, focuses on identifying requirements and use-cases, and developing a methodology for efficient design, verification and validation of autonomous underwater operations

  • WP3 – Coordination Architecture and Specification, includes designing a platform to implement autonomous functions using general hardware and software components to build cooperative underwater AUVs/ROVs, namely through a semantic middleware that facilitates management, monitoring and control of networked SWARMs AUVs/ROVs

  • WP4 – Environment Recognition and Sensing, includes the design and development of an environment sensing system where information from visual, acoustic, and position sensors are combined with information received from other AUVs/ROVs, to perform context and object recognition, and also mapping and localization

  • WP5 – Communication and Networking, aims to design and develop a high-speed underwater data link based on acoustic transmitters/receivers for wireless docking of a AUV/ROV with a gateway bottom/surface node, and to design and develop an overlay network, by selecting and adapting suitable robust data-link, MAC and network communication protocols, for information exchange among cooperating vehicles and other elements involved in a mission

  • WP6 – Vehicle embedded architecture and task planning, targets porting the software architecture to be embedded on AUVs/ROVs. By means of the conceived planning in WP3 for the deployed vehicles, tasks will be supervised; additionally, (re)planning and reconfiguration of the vehicles behaviour due to unforeseen events will also be addressed

  • WP7 – Autonomous navigation and semi-autonomous manipulation, has the objective of offering a collection of functionalities that ease teleoperation of deployed vehicles and, if required, making driver assistance functions simpler

  • WP8 – Demonstrator: Definition, Integration, Verification and Validation, addresses the development and configuration of the infrastructure for carrying out the integrated demonstration and validation of SWARMs developments

  • WP9 – Dissemination, Exploitation and Standardization







- ECSEL Project Number:

- Start Date: 01 July 2015

- End Date: 30 June 2018


- 30 Partners

- 10 European Countries


- Total Cost: 17.3 M€

- EU Funding: 6.4 M€

- National Funding: 5.7 M€


- ECSEL MASP Coverage:

  Cyberphysical Systems

    • 31 - Architectures

    • 32 - Autonomy and cooperation


- Project Coordinator:

  José-Fernán Martínez (UPM)