A Scalable Electro-magnetic Communication System for Underwater Swarms

9th IFAC Conference on Manoeuvring and Control of Marine Craft (IFAC-MCMC) 2012, Arenzano, Italy, September 19-21

Felix Schill & Uwe R. Zimmer

Scalable, reliable underwater communication is still a major challenge limiting the deployment of large-scale cooperative underwater systems, such as swarms of AUVs, which generally rely on frequent updates from surrounding units for control and mission objectives. Communication bandwidth is extremely limited in the underwater domain, hence it is crucial to eciently manage and distribute this scarce resource between nodes. This paper discusses the dynamic performance of two previously presented symmetric, distributed time-slotted channel access algorithms for large-scale, dynamic ad-hoc networks. In contrast to traditional network algorithms which are mostly designed for sporadic point-to-point communication, these algorithm specifically optimise fast, continuous information distribution, locally and globally, while utilising close to 100% of the channel capacity. The algorithms are thorougly tested in real-time simulations with up to 200 nodes. The impact of swarm dynamics on network performance is analysed in detail in this paper.

Abstract | Paper (pdf)