Tuesday, November 20, 2018
Published: Nov 2017
Authors
  • BOSS Project
    • BOSS Project
Categories
  • Communications
  • Navigation Systems

EvoLogics GmbH - Bionic solutions for maritime industries

EvoLogics GmbH from Berlin, Germany, designs and manufactures underwater communication and positioning systems as well as smart robotic solutions. The company’s core technologies stem from bionic concepts that fuse state-of-the-art engineering with the best ideas found in nature.

EvoLogics launched in 2000 with a small group of scientists and R&D experts, aimed to develop innovative technologies for maritime and offshore industries. To overcome the common problems of transmitting data underwater, the team turned to dolphins, known to use a wide variety of acoustic signals to efficiently communicate in most challenging underwater conditions. The resulting EvoLogics S2C spread-spectrum communication technology over the years grew into a whole ecosystem of products that now includes several series of underwater acoustic modems, underwater positioning systems (USBL, LBL, SBL), advanced framework for developers, as well as novel robotic solutions and advanced R&D projects.

S2C Technology — solutions for underwater communication and positioning

The company’s key offer are solutions for underwater communication, positioning, navigation and monitoring applications. EvoLogics S2C R and S2C M lines of underwater acoustic modems and positioning systems cater to various scenarios and provide the highest degree of customization.

EvoLogics bestsellers provide a highly reliable bidirectional data link along with acoustic positioning, broadcasting and networking functionalities. Modern applications range from retrieving data from subsea sensors and navigating unmanned underwater vehicles to deploying complex underwater sensor networks for monitoring and exploration. USBL and LBL positioning systems, coupled with EvoLogics positioning software (SiNAPS), deliver accurate results and allow for simultaneous positioning of underwater assets and bidirectional data transmissions.

To meet the growing demands of the maritime and offshore industries, the product lines are constantly revised and expanded. Advanced networking and seamless system integration, minimizing the footprint and lowering energy consumption are the ongoing trends for new product launches.

Sonobot unmanned surface vehicle

EvoLogics actively develops its robotic USV platform: the Sonobot unmanned surface vehicle was conceived as an easy-to-deploy bathymetric survey vehicle for inland and harbour waters. The vehicle is a small, simple and usable platform for planning and executing a hydrographic survey that can deliver accurate geo-referenced bathymetry and high-quality imagery with minimum transport, launch and recovery efforts. The Sonobot is equipped with a GNSS receiver for precise positioning and a WLAN link to the control station on shore. The vehicle’s payload measurement system is available in several configurations to best-fit the scope of its planned deployment. The options include an EvoLogics single-beam echo-sounder or a third-party multi-beam sonar, side-scan sonar, DGPS with RTK, as well as a front-view camera for monitoring and navigation in hard-to-access areas.

The Sonobot platform proved itself successful in commercial surveying applications around the globe. In addition, EvoLogics engineers found the USV to be a benefit for time-sensitive tasks like testing and demonstration. It has been incorporated into the company’s demo-setup as a mobile node for LBL calibration and a target for LBL positioning. The opportunities of using a USV for various tasks beyond bathymetry are under further investigation, and the Sonobot is being tested as a deployment platform for a mini-ROV for monitoring operations, as well as a support surface vehicle for experiments with AUV networking and coordination.

Advanced R&D projects — EvoLogics BOSS Manta Ray

Constant innovation is the backbone of EvoLogics technology and the company is an active collaborator of several national and EU-funded R&D projects. Current development is focused in intelligent integrated solutions extending the capabilities beyond communication and positioning into telecommunication centers and robotics.

The BOSS Manta Ray is an autonomous underwater bionic vehicle the company has been developing since 2013 within the framework of the Bionic Observation and Survey System project.

BOSS is a joint research effort, supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). BOSS Project partners are Sea & Sun Technologies and Lübeck University of Applied Sciences.

The goal is to create a powerful and flexible underwater exploration and monitoring system, particularly suitable to access hard-to-reach or yet unexplored areas with its unique functional properties. Deployed in the target area for observation and survey, the BOSS system is a self-coordinating swarm of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), all linked into a multimedia sensor network with latest communication and navigation technologies. The AUV is the project’s core innovation — engineered and built at EvoLogics, the experimental bionic vehicle is modeled after a Manta ray and can move through the water by wing-like movements of its “pectoral fins”.

The AUV construction mimics the manta’s flexible body, giving the robot unique mobility characteristics: the large wing surface provides the vehicle with excellent dynamic depth control capabilities. The moving AUV can hold depth with highest precision, as well as perform highly dynamic dives and climbs. Inspired by nature, propulsion in “flapping wing” mode is very energy-efficient and offers long range and endurance.

During its missions, the robotic Manta can demonstrate the wildlife counterpart’s gliding and maneuvering abilities in open ocean, as well as precisely navigate over rugged seafloor terrain or in a closed-off environment, overcoming the limitations of traditional torpedo-style AUVs that lack agility near unstructured objects (coral reefs etc). In addition, the bionic Manta vehicle is fitted with jet thrusters and can move in high-speed mode, similar to standard AUVs widely in use today.

BOSS Manta Ray Propulsion Modes are

• Active life-like wing propulsion and leveled gliding — quiet, fast and efficient with extraordinary maneuverability

• Hydro-jet propulsion — precise control of the trajectory maintaining accurate depth levels without body oscillations — suitable for precise sonar measurements, sea-floor mapping and add-on speed requirements

The BOSS fleet of AUVs offers smart functional design with life-like swimming capabilities for future hydrographic profiling, seafloor mapping, inspection of subsea installations, as well as search and monitoring.

Conclusions

The challenges of modern offshore and maritime industries are more and more demanding, whereas most systems currently in use are large, heavy and extremely expensive to deploy. There is a strong need for smaller and smarter platforms, as operation of bulky equipment is very risky and requires significant support.

New technologies and smarter constructions enable cost-efficient solutions by getting rid of cables, “unchaining” underwater equipment and replacing traditional instruments with intelligent autonomous underwater vehicles. Underwater “internet of things” that enables intelligent cooperation between various vehicles and sensors is one of the the main vectors of EvoLogics development strategy.

Acknowledgements

BOSS Project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy on the basis of a resolution of the German Bundestag. Grant number: 03SX361A, BOSS-MANTA. The responsibility for the content of this publication lies with the author.

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