The research vessel ALKOR leaves Kiel for the ARCHES expedition in the Eckernförde Bay.
Various devices for the ARCHES underwater network will be loaded onto the research vessel ALKOR for the cruise AL457.
Starting from the docking station MANSIO, the Viator will autonomously explore the sea floor.
The VIATOR is a so-called underwater crawler: It pushes itself over the seabed and maps the area with the help of a camera system and a laser scanner. In doing so, it is completely autonomous.
The BIGO (Biogeochemical Observatory) is used to measure in situ fluxes and biogeochemical turnover at the sea floor.
The future project ARCHES financed by the Helmholtz Association culminates in the development of a heterogeneous, autonomously interacting robotic network for underwater use, the applicability of which was tested during a demo mission in October 2020. The aim was to show that the different measurement platforms can communicate with each other and that the measurement network reacts autonomously to environmental changes and changes its measurement strategy according to a given protocol.
Research project ARCHES: Successful mission on the high seas
The research vessel ALKOR had been underway in the Eckernförde Bay since October 20 to test an autonomous measuring network with a total of seven stations over a period of eleven days. During the expedition, the communication and cooperation of the various devices was tested and it was also investigated how the system reacts autonomously to environmental changes. The expedition was part of the Helmholtz project ARCHES, in which space and marine researchers develop robotic networks together. The Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics is involved as a partner.
In the bay, a team consisting of employees from GEOMAR, the Alfred Wegener Institute, the Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research and the German Aerospace Center jointly built an underwater network. The aim of the expedition was to show how the different instruments can communicate with each other and react to current and upcoming environmental changes. Scientists of the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel and the other institutes involved in the Helmholtz project ARCHES set up an autonomous robotic measurement network around the long-term observation station Boknis Eck and tested its functions.
The expedition is part of the Helmholtz future project ARCHES, in which autonomous and networked robotic systems for marine and planetary environmental exploration are being jointly developed since 2018. Besides GEOMAR, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) (coordinator), the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) and the Karlsruher Institute of Technology (KIT) are involved in the project. It was supposed to end with the departure of ALKOR, but due to the current COVID-19 situation it was extended until 2021, so that further tests are possible next year.
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