• Tulevaisuuden tekijät:

    Autonomous and Collaborative Offshore Robotics (aCOLOR)

    Tampere University of Technology and TAMK, Kari T. Koskinen


    Researchers spreads the word of the project aColor in the scientific community.

    The three-year project aColor (Autonomous and Collaborative Offshore Robotics) comes to the end in December 2020. The scientific community has given possibilities to hear about this research opening funded by Technology Industries of Finland Centennial and Jane & Aatos Erkko Foundations. aColor researchers have performed several presentations at conferences during 2019, and some others are coming for 2020. Furthermore, demonstrations have been carried out again during the past summer and autumn, including the real-time demonstration during the International Seminar on Safety and Security of Autonomous Vessels (ISSAV) 2019 in Helsinki (Finland).

    Several scientific publications have been written and presented by the different research groups involved in the aColor project, where mechatronics, machine learning, and communications have been the main topics. These publications have been published and presented in high-level conferences all around the world, including the USA, Italy, Portugal, and of course, Finland. Additionally, many Master’s Theses have been finished in the scope of the aColor project, where Tampere University students have been able to develop and learn from this research project. Also, some new collaboration and co-operation links have been established in the project, highlighting the EUMarineRobots (EUMR) with the University of Girona (Spain). This project, funded from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, has helped the researchers to develop Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GNC) algorithms using a commercial Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV).

    The most important presentation during 2019 has been the ISSAV 2019 in Helsinki (Finland), where the attendees of the seminar were able to see a live demonstration of the Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) in the lake Pyhäjärvi at Tampere (Finland). The feedback from the scientific community at the seminar was encouraging, emphasizing a comment from a UK researcher: “It has been the first time that I have seen a live demonstration working”. These comments motivate the aColor researchers to continue with the work that has been done during the last two years. The live demonstration shown in the ISSAV presentation can be found in the following link: aColor Project Live Stream - Pyhäjärvi (Tampere)

    This year 2020 has an important milestone for the aColor project: the TRA2020 conference. TRA (Transport Research Arena) is the largest European research and technology conference on transport and mobility. TRA takes place from 27 to 30 of April in Helsinki (Finland), and aColor project will present the scientific article “aColor: Mechatronics, Machine Learning, and Communications in an Unmanned Surface Vehicle”. This article combines the three research areas, mechatronics, machine learning, and communications, in a single document with the input of all research groups of the project.

    The three-year aColor project has opened new research questions in all research fields, where reliability and safety are the most essential ones to incorporate into the current system. The basic methodologies developed during the aColor project have been used as a proof-of-concept. Now, we want to start giving advanced capabilities to our autonomous offshore vehicles.

    More information:

    Jose Villa Escusol

    Doctoral student at Mechatronics Research Group (MRG), Tampere University (TAU)

    Phone: +358 50 448 1926, Email: jose.villa@tuni.fi

    Tulevaisuuden tekijät:

    Autonomous and Collaborative Offshore Robotics (aCOLOR)

    Tampere University of Technology and TAMK, Kari T. Koskinen


    aColor achieves first year goals of the project with the Unmanned Surface Vessel as a main topic.

    Series of public demonstrations have been made in the Tampere area to prove necessary capabilities of autonomous systems. These capabilities include navigation, long-range communications and machine learning algorithms for water segmentation in camera array data. In all of these demonstrations, the aColor Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) was the central subsystem of the test. In addition to that, the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) were also included to show the future and the goal of the aColor project.

    One word can be used to summarize the year 2018, the first year of the project aColor: Success. The first year already included three public demonstrations, the first of which only a couple of months after the beginning. Demonstrations, which were done in Tampere on the lake Pyhäjärvi, raised the name of aColor in headlines and even frontpage multiple times in the local media. Besides of public demonstrations: European Robotics Forum 2018, aColor test week in July 2018 and Tampere Smart City week, countless hours of field testing were made during the summer.

    European Robotics Forum 2018 (March 2018)

    The first public demo was presented in the Autonomous maritime systems session (organized by aColor project team) at the European Robotics Forum 2018 in Tampere Talo. A general presentation of the project was given during the session. The continuously unmanned ships (CUS) demonstration in icing arctic conditions was organized after the presentation. This demonstration included remote monitoring and operation of CUS located in an ice-free part of Lake Pyhäjärvi (Tampere, Finland). In addition to that, remote operation and monitoring with FLIR Thermal imaging and Furuno maritime radar imaging streaming over 4G connection was shown.

    The video of the demonstration performed in this session can be found in the following Aamulehti article (Finnish):


    Autonomous boat route between Laukontori and Viikinsaari (July 2018)

    The autonomous boat route between Laukontori and Viikinsaari was the first large-scale demonstration with all aColor team members involved. The Laboratory of Mechanical Engineering and Industrial systems (MEI), with the collaboration of Alamarin-Jet Oy, developed the control algorithms for an autonomous waypoint navigation for the twin jet propulsion surface vessel. The laboratory of Electronics and Communications Technologies (ELT) established a hi-speed wireless connection. This connection uses the actively controlled directional antenna, allowing long-range communication between the Ground Control Station (GCS) and the USV.

    Furthermore, Laboratory of Signal processing developed a machine learning algorithm to focus the detection for the water area. This algorithm will be useful in further obstacle avoidance capabilities. Last but not least, Tampere University of Applied Science (TAMK) team made a stream of all the demonstration using a drone.

    The video presentation of the demonstration can be found in the aColor Project Youtube channel:

    Tampere Smart city week (October 2018)

    The last public demonstration of the year was in early autumn during Aamulehti tuo robotit Ratinaan event at Ratina Kauppakeskus. AUV and USV located in Ratina harbor area were remotely operated from the GCS located onshore near Ratina Kauppakeskus. In addition to that, live streaming from the thermal camera, marine radar and day camera located at the USV and day camera in the AUV was broadcasted over the internet during the full demonstration. Also, an indoor aerobatic display with rotary wing AUV was given in Ratina Kauppakeskus.

    The article of the Aamulehti tuo robotit Ratinaan event can be found in the following link (Finnish):


    More information:

    Jose Villa Escusol, Mechatronics Research Group (MRG), Tampere University (TUNI)

    Phone: +358 50 448 1926, Email: jose.villaescusol@tuni.fi

    Tulevaisuuden tekijät:

    Autonomous and Collaborative Offshore Robotics (aCOLOR)

    Tampere University of Technology and TAMK, Kari T. Koskinen


    Air, water surface and underwater inspections with just one autonomous robotic system.

    AColor is a three-years project which will develop autonomous and collaborative capabilities between aerial, underwater vehicle and surface vessel. From communications and connectivity, to obstacle detection and path planning. This project addresses interesting evolving technology in autonomous systems. The common missions for the three subsystems include underwater surveys (mapping/inspections), recovering and launching fixed wing UAV from moving surface vessel and search and rescue (SAR) operations among others. 

    The project “Autonomous and Collaborative Offshore Robotics (aColor)” has started in January 2018. The project is done with the collaboration of Tampere University of Technology (TUT), Tampere University of Applied Science (TAMK) and Alamarin-Jet Oy. Besides scientific research and development also four public demonstrations are planned in order to demonstrate  the capabilities of autonomous systems. Such capabilities are focused on three subsystems: Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV), Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (UAV). 

    Public demonstrations 

    The public demonstrations will be organized in Tampere area during the next three years. Already confirmed tests include an autonomous boat route between Laukontori and Viikinsaari during one week in summer 2018, the autonomous boat and underwater vehicle operating in Sorsalampi (beside Tampere Talo) at Manufacturing Performance Days 2019 in spring 2019 and the UAV streaming live video feed in autumn 2019 at Subcontracting Trade Fair in Tampere. The complete demonstration of all subsystems working autonomously and in collaboration will be held at the end of 2020. This final demonstration aims to demonstrate all capabilities of the offshore robotic system. It will include various scenarios such as a fixed-wing UAV landing on USV, the autonomous docking operation for the USV and the search, underwater mapping and surveying using AUV and rescue missions utilizing enhanced situational image formed with fusing sensor data from both USV and UAV. 

    Initial tasks and objectives

    The first task to accomplish is the demonstration of  the autonomous capabilities of the USV, using the Alamarin-Jet Research Vessel. This task will also demonstrate the initial competences of communication from shore control centre (SCC) to the USV and simple obstacle avoidance features in inland waters with heavy traffic. Furthermore, there will be initial demonstrations for the rest of subsystems (aerial and underwater vehicles). These will test some basic capabilities and the initial steps for the further collaboration between the complete offshore robotic system. During the “Kick-off” meeting, all different project partners shared a common interest on achieving all objectives for the project. AColor-project will give an exciting working environment for the next three years.

    More information:

    Jose Villa Escusol, Tampere University of Technology (TUT)

    Phone: +358 050 448 1926, Email: jose.villa@tut.fi