Serafina The Hydromea VERTEX AUV


Designed for scalability

Our goal is to obtain 3D in-situ data instead of just a single measurement, and to do it faster and easier than traditional profiling. The only way to get temporally consistent snapshots across a water volume is to deploy as many sensors in parallel as possible. Our AUVs are designed to carry these sensors to where they need to be, to efficiently scan a body of water.

Currently, AUVs are prohibitively expensive for many applications, and often too big and heavy to take along without specialized infrastructure. Therefore AUVs are not widely used, and most AUV operators only have one unit. We are going to change that.

The VERTEX AUV was specifically designed from the ground up for scalability: mass-produceable at an affordable cost, small and light for easy deployment in large numbers, and equipped with an array of novel communication and localization technology to cooperate as a team.

Modular Design

The electronics and mechanical components are highly modular. This allows us to quickly replace or upgrade components, adapt the electrical interfaces and weight balance to new payload sensors, and easily adapt the configuration for each mission according to requirements. The default sensor payload is the EXO2 system from YSI, which is also very modular - the 7 ports can be loaded with any of the available sensors from the EXO2 range to suit each deployment’s requirements. Alternative sensors can be integrated on request by adapting our exchangeable payload front plate.

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Vertex brochure

Slim hub-less thruster

thruster Slim underwater thruster with efficient integrated motor controller. Brushless direct-drive for reduced part count and improved efficiency, and tangle-free operation without central hub.

We developed an ultra-slim, compact brushless thruster with integrated motor control. Our unique pat. pending design allows us to use hub-less propellers that are not affected by floating debris such as pieces of water plants or ropes. The integrated motor controller uses advanced sinusoidal drive algorithms to improve efficiency and smooth operation. Precise and fast speed control enables accurate attitude control of the submarine. The thrusters only consist of two parts that are entirely solid, making them pressure-proof without seals, and completely oil-free. Propellers can be exchanged quickly without special tools.

Agile 3D navigation

The VERTEX AUV is equipped with 5 of our proprietary, pat. pending thrusters, making it agile and highly manoeuverable. With three stabilisation thrusters and two forward thrusters, the submarine can rotate freely around 3 axes and hold depth even when stationary. Any 3D trajectory can be followed precisely at up to 1 m/sec (2 knots). Our advanced navigation autopilot automatically guides the submarine to predefined waypoints (GPS location and depth) that are uploaded in advance via the mission planning software.

Advanced swarm communication and localization

network Advanced ad-hoc radio network for swarm coordination

We developed a unique low-frequency radio system designed for robotic swarms, that connects the underwater robots as a multi-hop radio network. Advanced distributed scheduling algorithms prevent interference and maximise communication throughput.

Furthermore, we added a novel distributed acoustic localization system that allows each AUV to triangulate its position with respect to the other AUVs in the fleet. By combining this system with the communication network and a GPS receiver that obtains a position whenever any of the AUVs is at the surface, each robot gets continuous position information - no additional infrastructure required. The AUVs are also equipped with radio and 3G for surface communication.

The unique combination of scalable communication and localization techniques enables us to implement sophisticated swarm and formation control algorithms. By cooperating as a team, our fleet of submarines can respond adaptively to measured gradients, e.g. to find the source of a spill or follow a plume to determine its size.

Specifications 1

Max. Depth: 300m (250m with EXO2)
Max. speed: 1 m/sec (2 knots)
Range: >15km
Total mass: 6.8 kg
Overall length: 70 cm
Battery: Lithium-Ion, 14.8 V, 350 Wh
Battery life (cruise): 6-8 h

Standard sensors: 2

sensor-payload Modular front plate with integrated YSI EXO2 sonde. Sensors can be exchanged easily in the field.

Up to 7 sensors can be used simultaneously out of the following list:

Alternative Sensors on request.

  1. subject to change and availability, may change without notice. Contact us for details.

  2. Full list of sensors and specifications availabe on the YSI EXO2 website