Project: Through-Ice Location and Communication System

This project will develop a system to allow communication through water and ice, for location of and communication with autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs)._x000D__x000D_Traditionally, underwater connections have been made with subsea umbilicals, which in polar regions are not an option for establishing communications with underwater vehicles because of the obstacle caused by the ice. Conventional underwater wireless (acoustic) technology will not penetrate ice. The newly emerging underwater free-space optical systems are not an option either as a light beam will reflect off the surface of the ice. Due to the ice cap, surfacing for satellite communication is not an option._x000D__x000D_WFS has developed through-ground and through-water low-frequency electromagnetic technology for use in the oil and gas sector, for homeland security and defence, and for environmental and industrial applications. This project will look at developing electromagnetic systems for wireless communications between sub-ice vehicles and surface control teams._x000D__x000D_The product to be developed will deliver unique functions to the offshore exploration and production sector, as well as the marine survey, oceanography and hydrography markets. These markets are forecast to grow significantly in the coming 10 years, and there are two critical new frontiers: deep ocean (Gulf of Mexico, Niger Delta) and polar (Arctic, Antarctic). _x000D__x000D_The use of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) is growing across the globe, due to their high levels of mobility and flexibility, and low costs relative to surface vessels. In polar regions AUVs offer the added advantage of being able to explore beneath the ice, but today sub-ice AUVs are seldom used because of the risk of loss of vehicle. The through-ice communication system will enable a surface vessel, a helicopter or an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to communicate with and locate the AUV. The system is seen as a key component for de-risking under-ice AUV operations. The use of AUVs under ice will greatly increase human knowledge about topography, oceanography, marine life and marine systems in arctic areas._x000D__x000D_There is a number of AUV manufacturers in the world, the leading ones are in Europe. This project will see Europe's leading AUV manufacturer (Kongsberg Maritime), which leads the way in addressing many marine applications, P with the world's leading developer of low-frequency radio frequency systems for communication, sensing and navigation (WFS) to develop a revolutionary through-ice wireless communication and location._x000D__x000D_Successful delivery of this project will increase the efficiency of many polar and through-ice operations. It will increase productivity in ice regions of Canada, the USA, Scandinavia, and Russia. It will contribute to an increase in human knowledge of the virtually unexplored underwater arctic environment, benefitting the scientific community as well as the petrochemical industry._x000D__x000D_Furthermore it positions two of Europe's most innovative companies in their respective fields in the strongest position to exploit a strategically important and growing market. Ultimately the project supports Europe's position in the world as a technological and commercial leader in the field of marine engineering, offshore operations, and telecommunications.

Acronym TILACSys (Reference Number: 4836)
Duration 02/02/2009 - 31/01/2011
Project Topic The development of a wireless system for location of and communication with unmanned underwater vehicles in ice conditions.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
The consept and technology of radio communication and positioning through ice- and water has been further developed and explored. A proof-of-consept system has been mounted on an autonmous underwater vehicle and tested. Results from these tests and the project in total indicate that such a system may provide valueable communication- and positioning capabilities in ice-covered areas. Such capabilities may become very important for de-risking arctic AUV operations.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 2

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
2 Wireless Fibre Systems Ltd Coordinator United Kingdom