Department Underwater Robotics (UWR)
The Underwater Robotics Department conducts research in the field of remote-controlled, semi-autonomous and autonomous underwater vehicles and develops control systems and hardware components for this purpose. Complete systems and components are developed for exploration, inspection and manipulation tasks in the underwater environment. Research focuses on the development of autonomy functions for underwater vehicles and AI-based sensor data evaluation.
Another research focus is modeling, simulation, and decision support for complex aquatic systems. This area covers the entire cycle from drinking water production, treatment, and distribution to wastewater reuse. In the context of the challenges posed by climate change, we are also conducting research on flash flood warning systems and on improving the resilience of water distribution systems.
The different missions of our ROVs and autonomous vehicles.
- Monitor water quality, take water samples, inspect underwater structures (e.g. at offshore wind farms) or support fish farming. This is where the agile, remotely operated underwater vehicles of the TORTUGA ROV family come into play, which, unlike conventional ROVs, are equipped with an internal energy storage system.
- Exploring the seabed with high-resolution imaging sensors and underwater drones. In the process, Fraunhofer IOSB-AST's DEDAVE vehicle was able to discover historical finds from the Bronze Age and a flight model of the Canadian CF-105 Avro Arrow jet fighter, which was thought to be lost, at the bottom of Lake Ontario.
- Saving people from drowning. Real-world experiments to develop a water rescue robot are already underway in swimming pools, and rescue in inland waters is in the planning stages.
- Conducting marine research and ridding the oceans of old munitions and microplastics. The Fraunhofer research group Smart Ocean Technologies SOT is developing forward-looking underwater technologies for sustainable use of the oceans at the Rostock site. On the part of Fraunhofer IOSB, the departments Systems for Measurement, Control and Diagnosis and Underwater Robotics are involved.