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Gdansk / A new generation of unmanned boats is being built at the GUT

Gdansk / A new generation of unmanned boats is being built at the GUT

Scientists from Gdansk University of Technology create a new generation of unmanned boats. It is intended to serve to patrol offshore wind farms, inspect shipping channels and spot objects. The university announces that it will be the first such unit in Poland.

A team of scientists led by prof. Łukasz Kulas from Gdańsk University of Technology – reported to the press office of Gdańsk Technical University in the sent letter. The unit, which will operate semi-autonomously and autonomously, will be able to operate eg. When checking shipping channels and patrolling offshore wind farms – for example to spot things that should not be in a particular area.

The unit has already been tested on the Motława River and in the Martwa Wisła Canal. Now – for the winter period – it will return to the barn, where scientists will improve its functionality and provide the first opportunities for autonomous operation.

Representatives of the University of Gdansk indicate that scientists are now working on solutions in the field of so-called edge and cloud technologies using artificial intelligence and machine learning.

They develop and implement a secure and reliable radio communication system (such as anti-jammers), which will be used to ensure communication with several unmanned units at the same time.

TRANSACT Project Director of the Department of Microwave and Antenna Engineering of the Faculty of Electronics, Communications and Informatics, Coordinator of the GUT Center for Digital Technology A.S. M. Łukasz Kulas, quoted in the letter sent, noted that interest in sensitive security systems based on intelligent data analysis is growing. “Our business partners are looking for reliable solutions to improve the security of electrophysical systems whose installation and maintenance costs are as low as possible” – he assesses.

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He added that in response to these expectations, both edge and cloud technologies were used in the project, thanks to which the solutions used on the ship will be more flexible, universal and intelligent.

Hornet will be equipped with various types of advanced sensors known in self-driving cars, such as lidar, which accurately detects the shapes of objects on the surface of the water, as well as short-range radars and thermal, visual and acoustic cameras. Sonar allows accurate imaging of what is below the surface of the water.

a. Kulas points out that all data will be collected from the devices/sensors in the on-board computer (at the so-called edge of the network). “By quickly processing this data, the boatswain will be able to make decisions in the future,” the press release specifies.

He notes that various types of systems will also be installed to ensure maneuverability and operational safety. He stressed that “the boat will move along the planned route, but when an unexpected object appears, it will avoid or stop it.” He noted that mechanisms similar to those in the case of active cruise control in cars would work.

In turn, solutions related to cloud computing will consist of checking how the boat works and how to make appropriate decisions.

“In the cloud, it will also be easier to receive information about the location of other objects, the weather, the optimal course, how to save fuel, etc., and, if necessary, to improve the operation of artificial intelligence algorithms that work on the boat on an ongoing basis, ”- adds the project manager.

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The boat prototype is being developed as part of the research and development project “TRANSACT – Transforming safety-critical cyber-physical systems into distributed solutions for end users and partners.”

It is an international project with a total budget of €26.5 million (the project budget for GUT is over €1 million) implemented as part of the HORIZON 2020 program in collaboration with partners from Germany, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Spain, Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands.

In the letter sent, the university reminded that last year it entered into an agreement with the Polish Registry of Shipping (PRS) on cooperation in the field of research and development work carried out to develop new innovative, autonomous and unmanned surface platforms. , primarily in the field of the TRANSACT project.

In the statement, Director of the Shipbuilding Department of PRS Grzegorz Pettke indicated that the purpose of the collaboration is to develop and test the safety of new technologies, solutions and algorithms, including distributed cyber-physical systems combined with cloud solutions, reliable wireless communications, artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms for vehicles. Surface (semi) autonomous or unmanned (eg USV).

He stressed that “the joint activities during the implementation of this project will contribute to the development of innovative and safe procedural and legal solutions, in accordance with the guidelines of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).”

In his opinion, this would make it possible to commercialize this type of water transport, making Poland and the Polish shipbuilding industry an important center for the development of new technology.

PAP – Science in Poland, Piotr Mirowicz

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