The oceans are considered to host a substantial part of human and industrial resources, namely oil and gas, whose industry will move to ever deeper waters, and where renewable energy continue to be harvested from the seas in offshore wind farms, but also increasingly through tidal, currents and wave energy converters. Furthermore, minerals such as cobalt, nickel, and copper, rare earths, silver and gold will be mined from the seafloor (deep sea mining). To this end, new offshore and port infrastructure will need to be built, monitored and maintained or repaired.
Many offshore operations can be carried out by professional divers, sometimes in dangerous missions. The dependency on such kind of work represents an actual threat to the offshore industry. The extensive use of unmanned underwater vehicles (AUVs/ROVs) could solve this problem. However, such vehicles are usually customized only for performing specific tasks and are difficult to operate. This typically makes their deployment rather expensive.



The main objectives of SWARMs and associated targeted outcomes are as follows:

  1. Develop an environment characterization and coordination system
    • An intelligent environment recognition and sensing system
    • An innovative perception and decision-making system
  1. Design the necessary infrastructure for monitoring and controlling underwater industrial operations
    • A semantic middleware for managing the interoperability, cooperation and coordination
    • An advanced decision-making tele-operation assistance tool
    • New functions to improve autonomy of AUVs and ease of use of ROVs
  1. Apply communication concepts ensuring smooth functioning while also exploring new, innovative technologies
    • An underwater communication framework
  1. Define and apply a methodology for designing new operations
    • A methodology for design, verification and validation of safe autonomous underwater operations
  1. Test, validate and demonstrate the SWARMs platform solution in relevant and environmentally controlled scenarios
    • Adapted AUV/ROV available to the project






- ECSEL Project Number:

- Start Date: 01 July 2015

- End Date: 30 June 2018


- 30 Partners

- 10 European Countries


- Total Cost: 17.3 M€

- EU Funding: 6.4 M€

- National Funding: 5.7 M€


- ECSEL MASP Coverage:

  Cyberphysical Systems

    • 31 - Architectures

    • 32 - Autonomy and cooperation


- Project Coordinator:

  José-Fernán Martínez (UPM)