Autonomous Surface Vehicle "Niriis"

Technical Details

Size: 135 cm x 38 cm x 25 cm
Weight: 4,5 kg (empty weight), 10,5 kg (with batteries)
Power supply:
2x 22000 mAh 12V LiPo, 1x 5000 mAh 5V LiPo
Speed: approx. 5 m/s (9.72 kn)
Actuation/ Engine:
Thruster: 720W, max. thrust: 25 N
Steering servo: ± 16°
1x 4K RGB Camera (Sensor: SONY078, angle of view: 170°)
1x Infrared camera (Spectrum: 7.5 – 13.5 µm, resolution: 336x256 px)
Bluetooth 5

Organisational Details

Sponsor: Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action
Grant number: 03SX540D
Application Field: Underwater Robotics

System description

Niriis Web Interface (Photo: Tom Slawik, DFKI GmbH)

The ASV NIRIIS is used at DFKI RIC to evaluate algorithms for autonomous locomotion on the water plane. This includes problems as model identification, path-following control, trajectory tracking, and trajectory planning. Besides classical approaches, there is ongoing research on deep reinforcement learning -based approaches, which are evaluated on this vehicle.

The vehicle was built by the company Altus-LSA ( and expanded by DFKI with more advanced electronics. This includes a Raspberry Pi 4B running Ubuntu 20.04, which is connected to the DFKI intranet via WLAN. Furthermore, a ROS (Robot Operating System) stack was developed for the system, providing basic control and navigation functions.

The position of the vehicle can be tracked by a ceiling camera system, which is fused with a 9-DOF inertial measurement unit using an extended Kalman Filter. In addition, two forward-facing cameras are mounted on the vehicle to test advanced algorithms for image-based navigation and collision-avoidance. The 4K RGB-camera has a SONY078 sensor and an angle of view of 170 degrees. The infrared camera installed in parallel has a VOx Microbolometer sensor, a focal length of 13 mm and a spectrum of 7.5 – 13.5 µm. The image resolution is 336x256 px.

For easy operation, a web interface was developed by DFKI, which connects to the underlying ROS stack. Besides manual control, it is possible to draw paths the vehicle has to follow. After a control command has been issued, the tracking accuracy is evaluated in the background.

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last updated 08.07.2024