This paper gives an overview of autonomous underwater vehicles’ (AUVs’) applications, shapes due to the specific kinetic and dynamic requirements, state estimation, control, navigation, and communication principles. The emphasis is put on AUVs deployed within EU Horizon 2020 COMPASS 2020 (Coordination of Maritime assets for Persistent and Systematic Surveillance 2020) project for marine surveillance and reconnaissance missions in European seas. Basic data facts on the AUVs delivered by ECA Group are given, along with some general directions for further research in the field with the aim of achieving more efficient and environmental-friendly underwater missions in the future.
The paper deals with key features of some autonomous assets, i.e., unmanned aerial and underwater vehicles used for marine surveillance and reconnaissance missions. Firstly, performances of Airbus Zephyr S HAPS (Solar High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite), Tekever AR5 Life Ray Evolution and the AR3 Net Ray medium altitude unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have been analyzed. Then, ECA Group A18 and A9 autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) features have been presented. The strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) approach is applied to position appropriately these UAVs and AUVs in the context of maritime security operations. The need for further investigation in the field is revealed as well. The analyses vehicles are assets deployed with the European Commission’s (EC) COMPASS2020 project and tested over European seas.
The paper discusses the advantages and disadvantages of some unmanned aerial vehicles used for maritime surveillance. As examples, the Zephyr pseudo-satellite, as well as the AR5 and the AR3 medium altitude unmanned aircraft have been presented. A high-level Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis is applied in this regard, as a tool to help assess the potential benefits of UAVs in the current maritime surveillance context. Strengths as lightness, possibility of manual launching, low energy consumption, lower price in comparison to satellites, high seeing, sensing and communication features, capacity of both line of sight (LoS) and beyond line of sight (BLoS) operations, large coverage, and durability of flight and like are highlighted. Threats such as high risk to operations due to severe weather conditions, loss of human control over the systems due to their high degree of autonomy, potential users’ reluctance to accept high-risk innovation and similar are agued, as well. In addition, weaknesses as complexity of the systems and the requirement of highly skilled personnel for these aircraft design, production, operation and maintenance, along with opportunities like lower costs, lower ecological and logistics footprints and higher efficiency are also taken into consideration. The appropriateness of these advanced aerial vehicles for monitoring and securing sea borders has been intertwined within the context.
This paper presents exemplar cases of adjusting the operations and taskings of an existing maritime safety administration in the Adriatic towards the emerging technologies for enhanced patrolling in maritime surveillance. This work derives from ongoing COMPASS2020 project that aims to showcase the capabilities of unmanned systems (aerial, underwater) demonstrated in a novel concept of operation (CONOPS). Results will be presented in: REP(MUS) 2020 – NATO, the largest maritime unmanned systems exercise to be held in Portugal at the end of the project. The Montenegrin Maritime Safety Department reviewed and assessed the deployment of novel assets towards with goal of increased effectiveness (i.e. reduction of costs and responses) of its civilian maritime safety and security missions. This practical approach is presented in two exemplar use-cases: 1) an illicit activity, and, 2) a polluting incident, both with a search and rescue finale. They are presented using the Plan-Do-Check-Act model of analysis together with problem formulations, functional breakdowns for all operational actors (from patrolling boats, maritime operation centre to decision making institutions), and, stages of data deductions. The use-cases are sequentially revealed using the NATO Architectural Framework (NAF), with its glossary and terms, followed by conclusions on the expected results at the operational and tactical levels from COMPASS2020 Mission System.
Coordination Of Maritime assets for Persistent And Systematic Surveillance (COMPASS2020) is an EU H2020 project, which has as an overarching goal deployment of Unmanned Vehicles (UxV) - aerial, sea surface and underwater ones, in addition to manned offshore patrol vessels, to enhance current maritime border surveillance operations regarding detection of irregular migrants and narcotics smugglers. This paper gives an overview of several research projects on autonomous marine vehicles, as a key technological, organizational and legislative issue within the project scope: Kaisa , an autonomous vessel prototype built at SAMK Faculty of Logistics and Maritime Technology in Rauma (Finland). Autonomous Ships 101 from Solent University in Southampton (England). A review of other articles has served as a comparative analysis to the surveillance assets proposed by COMPASS2020.