Until now, underwater wireless communications have mostly been implemented with acoustic systems, generally considering that underwater radio communications cannot meet the requirements imposed. In fact, the very limited range due to water attenuation is the main obstacle of the environment we face.
The interest in re-evaluating electromagnetic (EM) communications in underwater sensor networks lies primarily in the growing interest of civil and military industry, environmental or port management entities, among others, in achieving reliable underwater links with higher data rates than acoustic communications. On the other hand, it is generally considered that there is no better alternative to acoustic communications for deep communications between remote sites, without power limitations and high data rates. However, our scenario focuses on shallow areas with both seawater on the coast and freshwater in rivers, dams or reservoirs. In this situation, EM systems are the best option as acoustic systems lose a lot of performance. Finally, the paradigm shift thanks to advances in different aspects such as DSPs, new and more efficient antennas or new considerations in terms of alternative propagation mechanisms.
This project will contribute to:
- Antenna design.
- Propagation models.
- The design of low-power communications systems.
- A new paradigm in which underwater communications is based on a set of static nodes and also unmanned vehicles (UUVs) to overcome existing attenuation with multi-hop communications protocols. This new network will in turn be able to enhance existing detection and estimation procedures with data fusion and distributed consensus/dissemination algorithms, as well as include functionalities such as self-localisation, vehicle tracking or navigation assistance.
This can be achieved through a combination of theoretical contributions, measurement campaigns, modelling, and software and hardware development. In fact, the greatest value of this project is the balance between these aspects with the aim of creating an operational wireless underwater sensor network that can in turn be attractive for technology transfer to interested entities.