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Thesaurus Logo

TecnicHe per l’Esplorazione Sottomarina Archeologica mediante l’Utilizzo di Robot aUtonomi in Sciami 


Start date 15 March 2016     End date 30 March 2018


Keywords: Underwater archaeology; Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV); underwater scene understanding; image processing

The overall goal of THESAURUS project is to develop multidisciplinary methodologies and technologies to detect, catalogue and document underwater artifacts and wreckage with archaeological and ethnoanthropological value.
In particular, THESAURUS aims at:

  • Investigating and experimentally evaluating the use of swarms of Autonomous Underwater Vehcicles (AUV) for the systematic research and mapping of sea floors with archeological interest by means of optical, acoustic and magnetic sensors;
  • Studying methods for the visualization and 3D rendering of the sites explored by the AUV swarm and for the integration of other information, including historic-archeological findings;
  • Defining an integrated repository allowing for the extraction and retrieval of baseline data for planning AUV missions, of specialist historic and archeological information and of general public information for granting virtual access to underwater sites.


THESAURUS will deploy leading-edge technologies from robotics and machine visions. In particular, in THESAURUS, specially-designed underwater vehicles will be equipped with vision logics, that will allow to automatically detect in real time the presence of objects of interest. In cooperation with each other, the members of the AUV swarm will be able to effectively explore the sea floor.

In agreement with the “Sopraintendenza per I Beni Archeologici della Toscana”, THESAURUS will accomplish testing activities in the Tuscany Archipelago. In particular, several known and new underwater sites will be explored and catalogued. In addition, by exploiting the results of historical research activities, explorations will be conducted along ancients routes and around shipwreck places.


The “Signals and Images” Lab will take care of several key points in the realization of Thesaurus project.

In particular, the R&D activities will focus on:

  • Real-time algorithms for on board analysis of optical images, magnetic data and sonograms;
  • Methods for image registration, fusion, geotagging and annotation;
  • Design and development of the Thesaurus Information System for the collection and retrieval of heterogeneous and multi-source data.


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