Coordinated maritime missions of unmanned vehicles - network architecture and performance analysis
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Multi-vehicle operations using various types of unmanned vehicles (UVs) can increase efficiency of marine data acquisition, reduce the crew risk and lower mission costs. These types of missions are very complex and often involve systems that are not interoperable. From an operational perspective however, some level of integration is necessary. Typically, a common network system architecture and Situation Awareness (SA) platform are required. The architecture allows operators to transfer data between vehicles and their operators, while the SA platform allows to monitor mission progress and react to changes. This paper presents a network system architecture used during an experiment realized in Spring 2016 in Norway. 8 departments from 5 institutions worked together to combine operation of 4 UVs (aerial, surface, underwater), a support vessel and on-shore team. The description is followed by a backbone network performance analysis. Several cases are presented, with focus on a transmission between manned vessel and Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV), including direct connection, and data-relay mechanism via Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).