The OES Portugal Chapter joins researchers from multiple institutions that have been intensively involved in ocean-related research and development activities. These institutions are part of a network of national organizations with extensive expertise in ocean-related activities, that collectively carry efforts to develop novel tools that make sustainable ocean explorations and exploitation a reality. The large number of researchers in Portugal addressing ocean-related problems is certainly linked to the unique characteristics of the vast Portuguese Atlantic territory, both along the water column and on the ocean floor.
Examples of multiple research activities and results of these researchers in the last months can be found below. The extent of these activities underscores why the 2018 IEEE OES Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Symposium and the OCEANS 2021 conference will be coming to Porto, Portugal.
A Glimpse into the Future of Marine Research, May 2017
The Laboratório de Sistemas e Tecnologias Subaquáticas (LSTS) from Porto University was one of the research partners involved in MBARI 2017 CANON experiments https://www.mbari.org/a-glimpse-into-the-future-of-marine-research/. The LSTS contribution was powered by the LSTS open-source software tool chain https://www.lsts.pt/toolchain.
Operations with NTNU in Mausund, Norway, May 2017
A team from the Laboratório de Sistemas e Tecnologias Subaquáticas (LSTS) participated with one Light Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (LAUV) https://www.lsts.pt/vehicles/lauv in a field study for the ENTICE project https://www.sintef.no/en/projects/entice/ in which other LAUVs from NTNU’s AUR laboratory https://www.ntnu.edu/aur-lab were also used. The field study took take place in open waters 10km north of Mausund with the goals of collecting data regarding the temporal variance of physical characteristics of the water column and studying abundance and biodiversity along the vertical structure.
MEDUSA DEEP SEA AUV, EEA Grants project, May 2017, Lisbon, PT— testing of an indigenous AUV with the capability to operate down to depths of 3,000 m and perform seabed mapping tasks. The vehicle was developed by a consortium of partners from Portugal and Norway, under the coordination of CEiiA. For the first time in May 2017 the vehicle successfully dived to 1,500 m and showed excellent performance of its navigation and control systems. The new platform, entirely developed in Portugal, is due to play an important role in mapping vast regions of the extended continental shelf of the country in cooperation with the EMEPC, the organization responsible for the studies supporting the request for extension of Portugal’s continental shelf.
MarinEye EEA Grants project, May 2017
The innovative multi-trophic monitoring system developed within this project combines a range of technologies capable of providing data that gives an integrated view of the different compartments of the ocean (physical, chemical, biological) at different levels of knowledge (from genomics to biogeochemistry and from micro to macro community dynamics). The project was led by CIIMAR (Interdisciplinary Center for Marine and Environmental Research) and counted with the participation of the Polytechnic Institute of Leiria, IPMA (Portuguese Sea and Atmosphere Institute), and INESC TEC.
EU MARINE UAS Innovative Training Network (ITN), 19–29 June, 2017, IST, Lisbon, PT—Organization of the 1st MARINE UAS Summer School of the EU MARINE UAS Innovative Training Network (ITN) on Autonomous Unmanned Aerial Systems for Marine and Coastal Monitoring, in cooperation with the 2nd EC WiMUST project Summer School and the NETSyS doctoral program, 19–29 June, IST, Portugal. The School included the participation of 30 invited speakers—from academia and the industry—and 25 doctoral students from across Europe and represented an excellent forum for the presentation and discussion of theoretical and practical issues with a special focus on the interaction between UAV, ASV, and AUV systems and the dual use of space and ocean-related technologies—https://www.itk.ntnu.no/marineuas/Marine%20UAS.html
The Laboratório de Sistemas e Tecnologias Subaquáticas (LSTS) is a partner in the Expanded Underwater Robotics Ready for Oil Spill (e-URready4OS) project. The 2018 March issue of Marine Technology Reporter had an article about the e-UReady4OS project and the oil-spill incident response exercise that took place in Cartagena, Spain, June 2017. https://magazines.marinelink.com/nwm/MarineTechnology/ 201803/#page/26
Thematic Workshop on Sensing the Deep Sea, June 2017
Within the scope of the EU funded STRONGMAR project, INESC TEC together with partners from the University of Aberdeen (School of Engineering, Optical Research Group), organized the Thematic Workshop on Sensing the Deep Sea, that took place on the 20th of June 2017, within the OCEANS’17 MTS/IEEE Aberdeen conference. The program focused on subsea sensing, subsea optical sensing, instrumentation and optical imaging, remote sensing, optics, imaging, vision and E-M system.
Rapid Environmental Picture Atlantic Exercise 2017 (REP17-Atlantic), July 2017
REP-Atlantic is a yearly exercise organized by the Portuguese Navy, the NATO Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation and the Laboratório de Sistemas e Tecnologias Subaquáticas (LSTS) targeted at advancing the state of art in networked vehicle systems through large scale experimentation in real-life operational scenarios. The 2017 edition of this exercise took place in July 2017 off Tróia, Portugal. The participants in the exercise also included the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), the University of Hawaii, the University of Aveiro, the Belgium Navy, Carnegie Mellon University, Czech Technical University in Prague and Hidromod.
EMSO-PT Research Infrastructure Kick-Off, July 2017
Coordinated by IPMA (Portuguese Sea and Atmosphere Institute), the EMSO-PT research infrastructure joins together the Portuguese ocean-related research community. EMSO-PT observatories will merge “off-the-shelf” technology, which will ensure that they will meet the International standards, with novel approaches (based on networked, autonomous observation platforms) that will contribute to more sustainable monitoring operations and will create the basis for the development of new marine products and services, creating value and qualified jobs. In the mainland, two sites will be considered, one deep (Cadiz) and another shallow (North Portugal). The site to be developed in North Portugal will be a test bench for emerging monitoring strategies. In the Azores, two main areas have been the focus of EMSO-PT: LuckyObs, mainly driven by the French colleagues and the CondorObs focused on seamount ecosystems.
Mapping the Plume of the Douro river, August 2017
A team from the Laboratório de Sistemas e Tecnologias Subaquáticas (LSTS) from Porto University mapped the plume of the Douro river with coordinated Light Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (LAUV). These experiments were synchronized with overpasses of different satellites with the goal of validating remote sensing data with in-situ measurements.
FLEXUS Unmanned Vehicles, September 2017
A multidisciplinary team from INESC TEC conducted a training session for some researchers and operators of the RAWFIE consortium that took place from 5 to 7 September, 2017, at the Navy Base of Skaramagkas, near Athens, Greece. The training addressed the use of the FLEXUS USV fleet, a set of 10 USVs developed at INESC TEC and provided to the RAWFIE consortium. The session covered a set of technical topics, including USVs handling, deployment, operation, recovery and maintenance. Additionally, a demonstration of the FLEXUS USVs capabilities was performed using several vehicles in a typical outdoor environment. Hands-on experience was also provided to the attendees. Further to training, the FLEXUS solution was successfully integrated in the testbed where the USVs will execute missions (experiments) to collect data for researchers within the scope of the RAWFIE project.
TEC4SEA Research Infrastructure Kick-Off, September 2017
The TEC4SEA research infrastructure is a unique and pioneer platform in Europe to support research, development, and test of marine robotics, telecommunications, and sensing technologies for monitoring and operating in the ocean environment. Its characteristics, geographic location allowing fast access to deep sea, and support of multidisciplinary research, enable full validation and evaluation of technological solutions designed for the ocean environment, allowing researchers to evolve from simulation/lab experiment to field trial. It is coordinated by INESC TEC and also counts with the participation of CINTAL from University of Algarve.
ERL Emergency Robots, September 2017INESC TEC aerial robotics teams, besides having won multiples prizes in specific challenges, integrated the team that won the Grand Challenge competition ERL Emergency Robots, 2017, that took place in Piombino, Italy, in September 2017. The winning team was also constituted by elements of the terrestrial robotics team TELEROB and the underwater robotics team from the University of Girona.
Mapping the Belinho Shipwreck, September 2017Researchers from the Laboratório de Sistemas e Tecnologias Subaquáticas (LSTS) from Porto University were part of an international team involved in the discovery and mapping of a shipwreck from the 16th century found in Esposende, north of Porto, Portugal. http://www.omare.pt/en/atividade/belinho-16th-century-shipwreck/. The team included researchers from Instituto de Arqueologia e Paleociências/Instituto de História Contemporânea da Universidade Nova de Lisboa IAP/IHC FCSH-UNL, Câmara Municipal de Esposende, SHIPLAB, Texas A&M University, LSTS, OceanScan—Marine Systems and Technology, ForSEADiscovery project and CANAL—Centro de Arqueologia Náutica do Alentejo Litoral (IAP/IHC-FCSH and Câmara Municipal de Alcácer do Sal).
¡VAMOS! Project Live Demonstration, October 2017
In October 2017, the EU funded project ¡VAMOS! organized a live demonstration of technologies for operations in flooded mines at the Imerys Minerals Ltd. test site in Lee Moor, Devon, UK. EVA robot, a hybrid ROV/AUV system developed at INESC TEC, that collects multimodal information to provide situation awareness data in mining operations, was one of the novel technologies presented at this event.
Maritime Technology in Conference, November 2017
Entitled “A Sea of Technology”, the annual scientific conference of the STRONGMAR project was held on 16 November, 2017, at the Almeida Garrett Municipal Library, Porto, Portugal. Organized by INESC TEC, this initiative counted with the participation of about 100 researchers, and several renowned speakers talking about “SMART cables”, “Subsea 3D laser imaging”, “Underwater mining”, “Offshore Oil and Gas Operations”, “Subsea Digital Holography” and “Underwater acoustics”.
Raia.co Award, November 2017
The Laboratório de Sistemas e Tecnologias Subaquáticas (LSTS) was a partner in the RAIA.co—Oceanographic Observatory of the Iberian Margin and the Nearshore, an INTERREG project in which the first WAVY drifters were developed by LSTS. The project has received the 2016 award for the Development of International Cooperation delivered at the 4th Atlantic Stakeholders Platform Conference that took place in November, 2017, in Glasgow.The Laboratório de Sistemas e Tecnologias Subaquáticas (LSTS) is a partner in the H2020 MELOA project funded by European Funding for Research and Innovation https://www.ec-meloa.eu/. Running from December 2017 to February 2021, MELOA is targeting the development of an innovative family of drifters, based on the LSTS WAVY drifters, allowing for a low-cost, easily deployable, high versatility, and low maintenance system for in-situ measurements for marine environments.
2017 IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology Outstanding Paper Award
Collaborators and researchers of the Laboratório de Sistemas e Tecnologias Subaquáticas (LSTS) co-authored this paper: Walter Caharija, Kristin Pettersen, Marco Bibuli, Pedro Calado, Enrica Zereik, José Braga, Jan Tommy Gravdahl, Asgeir J. Sørensen, Milan Milovanovi´c, and Gabriele Bruzzone, Integral Line-of-Sight Guidance and Control of Underactuated Marine Vehicles: Theory, Simulations, and Experiments, IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology, Vol. 24, No. 5, pages 1623–1642, September 2016.
+Atlântico Project, 2017, Lisbon, PT—Launching of a new project entitled +Atlântico, following approval by the Portuguese Funding Agency FCT of a proposal submitted to the Carnegie-Mellon-Portugal Program. The project addresses a number of topics with a focus on: Research, Engineering and Industry (Subsea Technologies, Specialized Platform Support Vessels and Off-shore Platforms, Sustainable Ports, Risk Governance, and “Smart Fields”) Commercialization, and Observations. The project brings together a large number of promoters and partners from academia and the industry that include the EMEPC, ONIP, GALP ENERGIA, Technip/ Lusotechnip, CEIIA, WAVEC, MARETEC), Univ. Madeira (OOM and MITI), and CMU.
EU WiMUST project, January 2018, Sines, PT—for the first time worldwide, in the scope of the EU WiMUST project (http://www.wimust.eu/) coordinated by ISME, Italy, a demonstration was done at sea in Sines, Portugal, with a fleet of seven autonomous surface and underwater vehicles developed by ISR/IST, ISME, and GraalTech, capable of performing geotechnical seismic surveys cooperatively, in fully autonomous mode, exchanging data and commands over an acoustic communications network. In the tests, two surface vehicles carried powerful acoustic sparkers for seabed and under the seabed insonification, while a group of five surface and underwater robots pulled streamers equipped with hydrophones to acquire geophysical data. This landmark will be instrumental in the development of a new breed of autonomous systems for geotechnical surveys with a high potential for commercial applications.
Winter School on Autonomous Unmanned Aerial Systems for Marine and Coastal Monitoring, Porto, Portugal, January, 2018
The winter school of the Marine Unmanned Air Vehicles project funded by the EU Horizon 2020 Framework programme, under the Marie Sklodowska Curie Innovative Training Network program, had over 30 participants. The programme of this winter school had approximately twenty talks (including four keynotes) covering several subjects in the scope of Autonomous Unmanned Aerial Systems for Marine and Coastal Monitoring and work sessions targeting algorithm development, software integration, and simulation https://marineuasws.lsts.pt/home
Marine Robotics School, NIO, Goa, India, 12–17 February, 2018—Co-organization, together with partners from India, of a “Marine Robotics School” at the National Institute of Oceanography, Goa, India. The school targeted an audience of app. 80 graduate students and research engineers from across India and covered a large spectrum of theoretical and practical issues pertaining to single and multiple vehicle navigation, guidance, and control of marine robots including humans in the loop. There was a special focus on the use of acoustic networks for multiple vehicle navigation and control. The school included experiments with real vehicles and acoustic equipment provided by Evologics, Germany. This concerted action paved the way for the strengthening of on-going cooperation links between ISR/IST, NIO, and other partners in India, Korea, and Europe.
EUMarine Robots Kick Off Meeting, March 2018
The kick-off meeting of the H2020 Marine robotics research infra-structure network project https://www.eumarinerobots.eu/ (EU Marine Robots), funded by European Funding for Research and Innovation and coordinated by Porto University through LSTS, took place March 2nd, 2018 in Porto. The partners are: University of Porto; University of Bremen; Associação do Instituto Superior Técnico para a Investigação e Desenvolvimento; University of Genoa; Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, University of Zagreb; University of Girona; University of Limerick; Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands; Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation; Heriot-Watt University; Norwegian University of Science and Technology; Marine Institute; Distretto Ligure delle Tecnologie Marine; Natural Environment Research Council; and, Institut Français de Recherche pour l’exploitation de la Mer. The main objective of the project is to open up key national and regional marine robotics research infrastructures (RIs) to researchers worldwide and establish a world-class marine robotics integrated infrastructure.
Oceanology International, London, March 2018
The H2020 Marine robotics research infra-structure network project https://www.eumarinerobots.eu/ (EU Marine Robots) coordinated by Porto University through LSTS had a booth at this event. The booth was targeted at disseminating the project and at engaging the marine robotics community in the calls for transnational access to EU marine robotic infra-structures. The calls will start opening by the end of 2018. https://www.eumarinerobots.eu/tna.
Shell XPRIZE Ocean Discovery Finalists, March 2018
The Portuguese team PISCES, led by INESC TEC, and also counting with researchers from CINTAL/University of Algarve, is one of the nine finalist teams moving forward to Round 2 testing of the Shell Ocean Discovery XPrize international competition. The PISCES team has been developing DART—a deep water portable AUV, that together with complementary systems for underwater navigation and mapping, will be able to map deep ocean areas with high accuracy. More information at http://pisces.inesctec.pt/
H2020 BRIDGES Project Ultra-Deep Glider Vídeo, April 2018
The Laboratório de Sistemas e Tecnologias Subaquáticas (LSTS) is a partner of the H2020 BRIDGES project funded by European Funding for Research and Innovation http://www.bridges-h2020.eu/. A video released recently describes BRIDGES’ (Ultra) Deep Glider capabilities https://youtu.be/lIOPDwlJ30U
Acknowledgment. This article received valuable contributions from the following members of OES Portugal section: Alfredo Martins, António Pascoal, João Sousa, and Nuno Cruz.