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Marine Robotics for Recurrent Morphological Investigations of Micro-Tidal Marine-Coastal Environments

Standard monitoring activities are functional for longer time and spatial scales but can be expensive, complex, and inaccurate in certain circumstances regarding micro-tidal marine-coastal monitoring. In this article, the authors explore both the benefits and shortcomings of using marine robots as an alternative tool for monitoring shorter periods and smaller ranges.

Abstract: Coastal zones are subjected to a wide range of phenomena acting on very different temporal and spatial scales: from decades to days and from hundreds of kilometers to tens of meters. Planning the management of such areas, thus, requires an accurate and updated knowledge of the ongoing processes. While standard monitoring activities are functional for the medium-long time scale and medium-large spatial scale, they struggle to provide adequate information concerning the short period (i.e., days) and small range (i.e., few meters). In addition, such operations are affected by high costs and logistic complexity since they generally involve the deployment of specific aircraft or maritime vehicles. On the contrary, the employment of robotic devices can represent a solution to these issues. Their proper use can allow for frequent surveys and enhance the coverage of the acquired data due to optimized mission strategies. Marine robotics has the potential to arise as an efficient complementary tool to standard monitoring techniques. Nevertheless, the use of marine robots is still limited and should be improved. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the current state of robotic technology, identifying both the benefits and shortcomings of its use for micro-tidal marine-coastal monitoring. The discussion will be supported by actual results, taken as an example, achieved using FeelHippo AUV, the compact Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) developed by the Department of Industrial Engineering at the University of Florence, Italy.

Author: Ridolfi, A.; Secciani, N.; Stroobant, M.; Franchi, M.; Zacchini, L.; Costanzi, R.; Peralta, G.; Cipriani, L.E.

Journal: Journal of Marine Science and Engineering

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