EurEx - Persistent under-ice navigation

AUV DeepLeng (Photo: Marc Hildebrandt, DFKI)
AUV DeepLeng (Photo: Marc Hildebrandt, DFKI)

One important aspect of future missions to ice-covered moons within our solar system is the exploration of the oceans underneath the ice. Based on the exploration concept developed in the Europa-Explorer project, the aim of the EurEx-LUNa project is to further evolve the under-ice navigation and exploration capabilities of an autonomous system and subsequently evaluate them in an analog mission. In order to allow for persistent exploration in challenging and difficult to access environments, both the software and the hardware of an autonomous underwater vehicle must be thoroughly tested and continuously improved. An essential part is the safe return of the underwater vehicle and to successfully attach to the docking interface, allowing data and energy exchange. To evaluate the capabilities and robustness of the overall system an analog mission will be carried out in an ice-covered lake.

Duration: 01.03.2020 till 31.05.2022
Donee: German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence GmbH
Sponsor: Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action
German Aerospace Center e.V.
Grant number: The EurEx-LUNa project is funded by the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWi) (Grant No. 50 NA 2002).
Application Field: Underwater Robotics
Space Robotics
Related Projects: EurEx
Europa-Explorer (12.2012- 04.2016)
EurEx-Safe Long-Term Navigation (09.2017- 10.2019)
Localization and mapping in confined underwater environments (09.2009- 07.2012)
Related Robots: DeepLeng
Exploration-AUV for Long-Term Missions
Exploration AUV for long-distance-missions
Teredo IceShuttle
Through-Ice-Cap Transfer-Vehicle & Base Station

Schematic overview of a possible mission scenario. 0) ice-drill penetrated the ice-shield. 1) AUV has been released from the payload compartment. 2) AUV descends to ocean floor. 3) exploration using cameras/sonar and internal sensors. 4) ascend to the ice/water boundary. 5) return to ice-drill (using autonomous localization buoys) and docking for energy/data exchange. (Photo: Jan Albiez, DFKI GmbH)
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last updated 09.05.2022
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