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-We describe the design, realization and first sea trials of a small-sized Autonomous Surface Vehicle (ASV) for environmental monitoring. The robot is being developed in the framework of the HydroNet European project  aiming at realizing a new multi-robot system for monitoring the quality of coastal waters, rivers and lagoons. One main innovation of the robot is the capability to measure heavy metals concentrations directly onboard using sensors ad hoc developed by the consortium. This enables the system to provide real-time measurements of heavy metals concentrations potentially changing the current water monitoring methodology in which the samples are collected by a dedicated boat and analyzed in laboratory. The robot is designed for long range missions and for lodging the onboard water analysis system. Some severe constraints imposed by the addressed scenarios are considered in the design: reduced length and limited weight for ease of transportability and deployment; low draft and protected propellers to enable the ASV to move safely in shallow waters with likely floating obstacles such as plastic bags.
Date of Conference: 9-13 May 2011