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Joint Research Activities

State of the art on Regional RVs guidelines and generic designs (JRA 1)

The economic crisis has stopped a lot of national renewal efforts and European Regional RVs are directly hit by this unfavourable evolution. They are widely distributed within Europe contrarily to Global and Ocean ones that are owned by a limited number of Western European operators and owners.

 

The EUROFLEETS1 survey on Regional RVs perspectives for next 10 years shows that Regional RVs are still ageing and that only a few of them got funding for major refits absolutely necessary to renew their scientific equipment and allow them to deploy modern underwater vehicles such as ROVs or AUVs.

 

Regional RVs are normally designed by local design offices and they could not take full advantage of know how and experience accumulated by other RV operators.

 

That is why EUROFLEETS2 proposes an innovative WP dedicated to Regional RV guidelines and design in liaison with Spanish and French industrialists including one SME.

 

It will, furthermore, incorporate and valorize the awaited EUROFLEETS achievements concerning RV greening and inter operability. Estonian and Black Sea RV projects have been chosen as application points of this WP.

 

Relevant Deliverables 

 

Progress beyond the state of the art: The aim of this activity is to achieve more efficient and competitive European fleets in the field of RRVs, as they play a crucial role in supporting science along the European coasts. There is a strong demand concerning them from society. This requires modern fleets in terms of conception and design, able to provide the capability for multipurpose and interoperable sea operations. For this reason, design and development of RRVs is a complicated, time consuming and expensive exercise, and it should be done by establishing regular exchanges/contacts between qualified ship design companies, equipment manufacturers, scientific personnel and experienced RV operators in order to combine “best practice” from existing RRVs together with the latest developments in ship design and scientific equipment.

State of the art in for hybrid and autonomous underwater systems (JRA2)

Underwater systems are progressing with innovative payloads for sciences and new capacities in terms of autonomy and performances. The EUROFLEETS1 beneficiaries are involved in the development of new innovative sensors, as illustrated by a new 3D HD TV system built by Marum and Ifremer using the very last generation of smart optics and electronics. As a result, new very compact 3D HD cameras are now available for existing deep sea ROVs and future Hybrid ROVs and AUVs. These new vehicles under development within a European Research Grouping (MARUM, Ifremer, AWI, CNRS-INSU) and with the support of the European Center for Underwater Technologies (CETSM) in Toulon (France) are optimized in terms of energy and will use these smart devices, for video survey and mapping. In this context, the use of the 3D HD system opens new perspectives for ortho mosaïcking and 3D based video control.

 

The energy efficiency is also a matter of power sources, which are also a technological key component of underwater systems. In that field, due to industrial applications (electronics, automobile etc…), new Lithium-Ion batteries are on the shelf, mainly for atmospheric uses. The integration of such batteries for underwater applications is dimensioning in terms of architecture. In-air integration require heavy pressure hulls, which are often non optimal. The use of in-oil Lithium Polymer technologies is emerging since several years, but the solutions are limited in terms of efficiency and density.

 

Progress beyond the state of the art: The use of the 3D HD data for 3D optical modelling and mosaïcking of the ocean with innovative algorithms, dealing with calibration, texture and blending corrections is a new research target which requires advanced signal processing and software implementations. In JRA2 WP, two innovative developments will be carried out, based on one hand on a new high density Lithium Polymer package integrated in a gel matrix, with the ad hoc pressure compensated electronics for battery management, and on the other hand a very high density solution based on real Li-ion technology, packaged in oil within flexible cells, easy to integrate within all submarine frames. SMEs are associated to these developments.

State of the art in software tools - JRA3

The EUROFLEETS1 experience has shown the relevance to achieve the highest interoperability levels in order to succeed in sharing resources. In EUROFLEETS2, two software-packages easy to install on every European RV or underwater equipment have been planned. The main objective of these software-packages is to combine all on-board functionalities necessary for cruise preparation, collection, linking, processing and visualization of scientific data acquired during cruises, and for exporting all collected information (data and metadata) to shore marine data centers and networks. The main challenge to achieve this objective is to develop software to be widely used on the European research fleets, based on existing tools and using the most relevant international standards adopted in marine and environmental sciences data management activities. The 6 tasks of the EUROFLEETS1 WP10 are establishing the first step towards the interoperability within the European fleets, through the implementation of prototypes for common use (data processing, common event log system) and the analysis of common standards to be used to guarantee the compatibility with other reference projects such as SeaDataNet.

 

The objective of using common tools will be achieved by the on-board implementation of the mentioned softwarepackages. A first step to improve the data & metadata flux from RVs to data centers will also be achieved by the adoption of a common set of metadata formats and a common strategy to submit data in real time or pseudo real time from ships to shore.

 

Progress beyond the state of the art: The main objective of EUROFLEETS2 JRA3 is to develop software and data services that implement all technologies that weren't mature enough when starting EUROFLEETS1 JRA developments, with the goal to improve the on-board end user facilities and also the integration of the RVs with the European marine data centers network as information providers. Two main challenges have been identified to achieve this objective:
· The use of Open Geospatial Consortium Sensor Web Enablement standards for data, metadata and data services combined with the Unidata NetCDF standards, the ISO 191xx and the SeaDataNet CSR/CDI metadata standards; 
· The implementation of a semantic framework to be used on-board as link at the vocabulary level between the mentioned standards and also as a knowledge base to develop user application interfaces. 
The JRA3 will go beyond the present state of the art by the work planned in three different tasks: 
1 “Developing new features in EARS”: Will enrich the EUROFLEETS Automatic Reporting System (EARS) by introduction of an ontology system as the basis for event coding and user interface construction improving the EUROFLEETS2 – 312762 – CP – CSA – Infra 20/11/2012 Page 12 to 65 user-friendliness of the system. The resulting knowledge base, interlinking and extending existing vocabularies will be served to the scientific community. 
2 “Standardization of the data acquisition process”: By the use of Open Geospatial Consortium Sensor Web Enablement (SWE) technologies will enrich the metadata products that describe the onboard data acquisition systems, and will constitute the first link in the chain of data/metadata from vessel to data centers with an eaccess approach.
3 ”Development of direct e-access to data during survey”: Focused on e-access technologies, it will provide an eresearch perspective to access the onboard data services from a shore site (data centers, research institutions, management sites) increased through on-line interaction of the on-board equipment. 
To stimulate the coordinated development, deployment and networking of the environmental research infrastructures, EUROFLEETS2 will establish partnership with other EC environmental integrating activities such as ACTRIS and IAGOS to furthermore harmonize standards and protocols.

JRA Results