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GPS guided unmanned robotic vessel quickly isolates oil spills

by Russel 2011-11-22 12:41



Marine Robot locates oil spillsThe latest developments in solving the problem of isolating hazardous oil spills have led to the development and deployment of new marine GPS guided automated unmanned robotic vessels able to protect waters of harbors, lakes, rivers and in-shore environments from spreading oil spills. The distributed robotic vessel navigation and control system includes sonars, radars and subsonic sensors synchronized with GPS Course Compass Unit and integrated with onboard GPS autopilot. The battery powered unmanned surface vessel computerized navigation system works in concert with the harbor main control center and the GPS satellite navigation system that allows it to automatically run search patterns for oil spills consolidating and analyzing information from the satellites and from the onboard sensors. The command center computer maintains a virtual map of the harbour which is updated in real time and contains the preset geofence boundaries for most critical areas of the harbour. 

The geofence virtual perimeters of most important areas are dynamically generated based on changing weather  conditions and distribution of tankers and other ships in the harbor. The robotic vessel receive central command center critical notifications and tracks barges, tankers and other marine vessels entering and exiting geofence boundaries. The marine command center unmanned surface vessel communicates with a fleet of robotic automated surface vehicles capable to react quickly to the detected oil spill and can close part of a harbor where the spill occurred. The robotic torpedo can also close a river, can close parts of a lake to make sure  the oil spill is contained and later destruction is prevented. The robotic torpedo is towing a floating boom around the slick. The elements of the protection system which are capable of performing the main functions of the unmanned autonomous surface robotic vessel as part of the future distributed oil spill isolation system is designed in Sweden and deployed in a commercial port of Malmo. In the past oil spill clearer teams used to have to use a boat to manually deploy a floating boom which is a time consuming operation. 

Automated robotic torpedo pulls the oil isolation boomIn critical situation when speed of response is the main factor of efficient isolation of the oil spill the robotic torpedo allows to dramatically decrease the outcomes of the water contamination. The automated surface vehicle directs the robotic torpedo without waiting for the coast guard and fire department to come with a helicopter and boat, to find the oil boom and to pull the oil boom in place. The response time is improved from hours to minutes. The system uses the most current virtual model of the geofenced harbor which is always up to date. The robotic torpedo can be programmed and controlled in real time to seal off the whole harbour or steered around a particular ship. The information collected by the unmanned surface vessel and updated with the latest GPS information available at the central control center is transferred to the torpedo robot responsible for deploying the floating boom without delay around most critical affected area of the harbor geofence border. The robot takes off immediately pulling the oil boom behind it. 

The torpedo robot uses its onboard autopilot with integrated Course Compass Unit and follows the orders from the central control center to choose an optimized course to most efficiently isolate the oil spill area, checking with most current GPS geofence boundaries, and completes the operation finding its way to the predetermined receiver station. The oil boom carried by the robot reliably closes the entire area around one ship which is causing the oil spill or even the complete perimeter of the harbour. The battery powered robotic device is best suited for harbours, lakes, rivers and in-shore environments. The next generation of the oil spill isolation distributed system will have an enhanced capabilities which determine the future off-shore deployments on oil rigs and oil discovery platforms. 

Marine robot isolates oil spills



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