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ARchaeological RObot systems for the World's Seas

Funded under: FP7-ENVIRONMENT

Project reference: Grant Agreement n. 308724

Start date 1 September 2012     End date 31 August 2015


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

ARROWS proposes to adapt and develop low cost autonomous underwater vehicle technologies to significantly reduce the cost of archaeological operations, covering the full extent of archaeological campaign.

Benefiting from the significant investments already made for military security and offshore oil and gas applications, the project aims to demonstrate an illustrative portfolio of mapping, diagnosis, excavation and security tasks. ARROWS approach is to identify the archaeologists’ requirements in all phases of the campaign, identify problems and propose technological solutions with the technological readiness levels that predict their maturation for exploitation within 3-5 years.


The individual technologies are then developed during the course of the project using agile development method comprising rapid cycles of testing and comparison against the end user requirements.

To ensure the wide exploitability of the results the requirements are defined and the solutions are tested in two historically significant but environmentally very different contexts, in The Mediterranean Sea and in The Baltic Sea.

Both immediate, low risk and long term, high risk developments will be pursued. In particular:

  • Fast a low cost horizontal surveys of large areas using customised AUVs with multimodal sensing.
  • Fast and low cost semi-automated data analysing tools for site and object relocation.
  • High quality maps from better image reconstruction methods and better localization abilities of AUVs.
  • Shipewreck penetration and internal mapping using small low cost vehicles localising using fixed pingers.
  • Soft excavation tool for diagnosis and excavation of fragile objects.
  • Mixed reality environments for virtual exploration of archaeological sites.
  • Active intrude detection methods.

The ARROWS consortium comprises expertise from underwater archaeology, underwater engineering, robotics, image processing and recognition from academia and industry.





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