Specs definition
Hull design
Sensors control system
Communication system
Field surveys
Operational tests
Processing and certification of collected data



Autonomous vehicles are intended to survey various environments, each with its own morphological peculiarities: rocky, gravelly or muddy seabed and water depth ranging from tens of meters to few centimeters. Moreover, autonomous navigation is challenged by presence of floating obstacles, intense current or wave motion.
Engineering of 3 prototypes will be designed in relation to: environment’s morphology, especially seabed type; pilotage level of difficulty; physical and chemical parameters to be measured. Private companies (MICOPERI, Communication Technology, MICOPERI BLUE GROWTH, C.A.D.F. and E.T.W) will provide relevant contributions in this phase by suggesting real scenarios to test systems and improve robots’ engineering.
Secondary WP1 objective is to implement auto-adaptive pilotage algorithms that will allow S.Wa.P. to follow a planned route and detect obstacles.

Planned activities:

Available prototype of autonomous vehicle will be used and equipped with various set ups, depending on environment, in order to highlight eventual problems and find relative solutions.
Meetings with private companies to collect insights about state of the art of technologies in use, environmental issues and possible applications.
Subsequently, main target will be software design and development including: autonomous pilotage over planned routes; control over power train and positioning system; obstacle avoidance system.
Activities will then be planned as: definition of structural parameters for hull and tools design for each environment type, design, realization and debug of implemented software; design of obstacle avoidance system and route correction system.


Prototypes developed within the project will be the evolution of the Unmanned Surface Vehicle realized by Proambiente (TRL4), with improved autonomy and stability at higher velocity.

Main achievements will be:

– design of an USV family, conceived to solve environmental issues connected to 3 macro-groups described in WP1;

– design and development of power trains with zero environmental impact, in alternative to the ones already in use;

– design and development of power trains and 3 prototypes that have shown best performances during test phase;

– development and final assembly of 3 prototypes.

Planned activities:

1) Study and design of the best vessel type per each environment: confined basins, streams, open waters. Compared evaluation between different kinds of vessels (monohull, catamaran or trimaran) to define innovative hull design so as to obtain least vertical displacements and a considerable reduction of wave motion; hydrostatic and hydrodynamic analysis for every kind of considered vessel.

2) Analysis and CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) advanced optimization to reduce resistance to forward motion and to improve vessel stability. Improvements will generate geometrical variations, in order to reduce pitch, roll and wave motion.

3) Study of innovative power trains to improve performance that will be chosen in between:

– water-jet: the system will solve problems of draft and navigation in shallow water;

– electric outboard engine with submerged propellers: update of actual engines, modifying engine’s main features;

– “aerial” electric propulsion via two double-rotors: reduce the risk of submerged parts being entangled into algae and floating objects;

– testing of new power trains to evaluate their environmental impact, and vessels check while operating into real conditions.


Scientific equipment include geophysical and chemical sensors to be implemented and integrated in the vehicles. Geophysical sensors are meant to investigate seabed and sub-bottom features and include echo-sounders and acoustic sub-bottom profilers. Chemical sensors are intended to measure water column chemical features and include multi-parametric probes (conductibility, temperature, density, O2, pH, chlorophyll and many more) and superficial water sampling tools for lab analysis.

Some of the aforementioned tools are available for sale, while others will be a result of in-house development. Within WP3, Communication Technology will provide know-how to integrate a multi-parametric probe to the vehicles. ETW will, instead, help designing and realizing a system for water treatment products release, providing needed specifications.

Subsequently, the remote USV control system will be developed, made of a console with a monitor and a software to interactively manage navigation and sensors.

Planned activities:

– Market research to identify compact and low-power absorbing sensors for the USV;

– Purchase and integration of geophysical/chemical sensors, including side-scan sonar, multibeam and multi-parametric probes;

– Customization of management control for scientific tools;

– Sub-bottom profiler engineering;

– Single-beam prototype engineering;

– Automatic water multi-sampler engineering;

– Design and development of the system for vertical displacement of the CTD probe along the water column;

– Design and development of the release system for water treatment products inside confined basins;

– Design and realization of sensors and navigation control system via an interactive management software to remotely and in real-time survey, in particular:

• Pilotage setting (positioning, route, velocity, battery status);

• Sensors parameters (sub-sampled transmission of collected data, acquisition parameters, etc.).


Prior to field tests, repeated instrumental operative tests will be run along WP2 and WP3 activities, to evaluate and improve hulls, power trains and sensors.

Subsequently, field tests will be run on 3 different regional environmental types (lake/lagoon, channel/internal waters, harbour/coastal area).

Geophysical and chemical surveys will be performed for each environmental type to verify the USV and sensors operability. Maps and technical reports will be compiled, including info about the surveys, as well as collected and processed data. Moreover, data will be digitally returned according to relevant commercial and open-source GIS formats.

Operational protocols will be returned for each environment and prototype, explaining vehicle’s modes of operation.

Planned activities:

Instrumental and piloting tests in safe environments (reservoirs and testing tanks) and, later, in natural environments (channels, lakes and coastal areas).

Concrete applications in 3 identified environments with 3 developed prototypes.

Data acquisition, processing and rendering.

Draft of operational protocols.


Mission of CNA Innovation – Technological Transfer and Innovation Area of Siaer S.c.a.r.l. – in its role of Center for Technological Transfer will provide permanent support to technological and executive innovation, favoring meet-ups between research institutions and industry, being mediator between what research and technology offer and what industrial counterparts seek.

Main WP5 target is supporting regional business system, guaranteeing project results will have widest echo over local industry. CNA Innovation will develop a targeted dissemination plan for project results, assuring technological developments achieved within the project will reach local industry and potential customers. Planned activities will include achievement of S3 targets (Smart Specialisation Strategy Emilia-Romagna,, aiming at active involvement of territory.

Planned activities:

A dissemination plan for project results will be designed and realized, based on following activities:

– workshop organization, in cooperation with ASTER;

– dissemination and communication through a CNA Innovation’s monthly newsletter;

– planning of focus groups/research cocktails/seminars: methodologies will be chosen depending on specific project needs, giving preference to innovative and informal communication methods favoring ideas exchanges between Research Institutions and Industry. Based on specific themes and business branches, technological transfer will be developed from different perspectives along its specific aspects;

– design of a project web site, together with eventual other communicating means;

– organization of meet-ups with business partners and potential customers;

– organization of public events to show developed technologies in action;

– support to eventual feasibility studies to delineate project to be submitted to Horizon 2020 or similar national, European and international funding schemes, depending on project results.

Project co-funded by European Regional Development Fund