R&D Projects

Upcoming R&D Projects that will use the research infrastructure

Name: MOSES - Moving Sands - Equilibrium State of Crenulated Coasts 
Dates: Starting date not set yet
Summary: This project proposes an innovator and unexplored approach to trace the alongshore drift as induced by waves and currents that consists in using acoustic techniques coupled with the more traditional approach of marked sands and digital image processing to quantify the amount of sediment crossing the shore. This multi level approach will allow a mutual calibration of techniques.

The objective of project MOSES can be summarised as follows:

(i) to quantify the amount of sediment crossing the shore in a headland-beach system through a multi level approach;
(ii) to produce a tool in a Geographical Information System (GIS) environment in order to characterize the equilibrium state of the beaches in crenulated coasts according to different wave climate and sedimentary transport.

Project leader:

University of Algarve


SIPLAB CINTAL/Universidade do Algarve

University of Lisbon

Link: http://www.siplab.fct.ualg.pt/proj/moses.shtml
Link to poster or video: n/a

Name: EDELWEIS - Experiment for Detection and Localization of Whale Sounds
Dates: Starting date not set yet
Summary: The objective of EDELWEIS is to conduct a controlled detection and localization experiment emulating whales' monitoring in view of studying the sperm whale community in the Mediterranean Trench off the Southwest coast of Greece. 

This experiment will attempt to record life animals and train algorithms also on simulated signals transmitted with a sound source at known range and depth positions. The implementation of the experiment will be based on available research equipment (sound source and acoustic oceanographic buoys - AOBs). The experiment will serve to collect data, carry out analyses and tune parameters of algorithms for building a sperm whale monitoring system, which will be based on a minimalistic arrangement of detection stations with sustainable autonomy.

The objective of project EDELWEIS can be summarized as follows:
(i) performance/quality assessment of detection/localization algorithms in the physical environment and
(ii) thereafter to provide recommendations for equipment requirements in that respect of a future actualised monitoring system.

Project leader:

UNIBAS-University of Basel (CH)


SIPLAB CINTAL/Universidade do Algarve (PT)

FORTH - Institute of Applied and Computational Mathematics (GR),

PCRI - Pelagos Cetacean Research Institute (GR)

Link: http://www.siplab.fct.ualg.pt/proj/edelweis.shtml
Link to poster or video: n/a

Ongoing R&D Projects using the research infrastructure

Name: Mare-Fi - Wi-Fi for Land-Sea Communications
Dates: 2013 - 
Summary: Mare-Fi is developed in cooperation with Propeixe - Cooperativa de Produtores de Peixe do Norte, Associação Porto Digital, Câmara Municipal do Porto, and Porto Cidade de Ciência. The project aims at studying the performance of Wi-Fi technology for land-sea communications using license exempt bands, extend free Wi-Fi on land to the sea, and develop Wi-Fi-based communication solutions adapted to the sea environment.

Narrowband wireless communications using HF/VHF analog radios dominate the maritime communications environment, with half-duplex voice communications between ships, and between ships and land as the major application. Broadband wireless communications are limited to near shore zones using cellular networks (GPRS/3G/4G) or can only be achieved using satellite communications that are too expensive for most of the ships. Due to these limitations and the need to benefit from the state of the art services and applications running on top of the global Internet also in the sea, there is an increasing interest in extending terrestrial broadband networks to offshore environments, in order to reduce the costs of broadband maritime communications and make them affordable to every ship.

During the last years there have been research efforts in this direction around the world, particularly in Europe and Asia; TRITON in Singapore was a pioneer project in this area. However, the proposed solutions for long-range, broadband maritime communications are proprietary or WiMAX-based, and most of them have been evaluated using simulations only. On the other hand, the few testbeds created so far have mostly focused on point-to-point WiMAX communications involving a ship with a controlled trajectory.

In the terrestrial environment we have seen Wi-Fi becoming a dominant, mass-market technology enabling low cost, broadband wireless communications. For this reason, it is increasingly being considered to create ad-hoc multi-hop networks that enable cost-effective wide coverage extension of existing network infrastructures using unlicensed frequency bands. Even though Wi-Fi has been mostly explored using unlicensed bands, the possibility to also use it over license-exempt bands and TV white spaces is envisioned to give it another boost in the upcoming years and is already allowing its use in long-range, single-hop communications.

With these possibilities in mind, Mare-Fi was launched in September 2012 as a pioneer project worldwide, in order to enable experimentally-driven research on Wi-Fi-based communications solutions and services over unlicensed, license-exempt, and TV white spaces in the maritime environment. In order to achieve this goal we have deployed a testbed, named MARBED, composed of two land stations and eight ships from a fishing company sailing within the Atlantic region around Porto up to 10 nautical miles from shore; the testbed is up and running since April 2013 and in the short to medium-term will evolve to four land stations and thirty ships. Mare-Fi was already able to get pioneer results on Wi-Fi maritime communications, which have shown the feasibility of Wi-Fi long-range maritime communications, but also the myriad of problems and challenges that still need to be faced in this new environment towards broadband Internet access in the sea environment.
Project leader: INESC Technology & Science
Partners: INESC Technology & Science
Link: http://win.inescporto.pt/Projects
Link to poster or video: n/a

Name: ICARUS - Integrated Components for Assisted Rescue and Unmanned Search operations
Dates: 2012 - 2015
Summary: ICARUS project aims to integrate a set of tools (robotic assets, survivor detection sensors, communication, command and control tools) for assisted search and rescue in urban and maritime scenarios.

After the earthquakes in l’Aquila, Haiti and Japan, the European Commission confirmed that there exists a large discrepancy between (robotic) technology which is developed in laboratory and the use of such technology on the terrain for Search and Rescue (SAR) operations and crisis management.

Thus, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry decided to fund ICARUS, a Research project (global budget: 17.5M€) which aims to develop robotic tools which can assist “human” crisis intervention teams.

The introduction of unmanned Search and Rescue devices can offer a valuable tool to save human lives and to speed up the SAR process. ICARUS concentrates on the development of unmanned SAR technologies for detecting, locating and rescuing humans.

There is a vast literature on research efforts towards the development of unmanned Search and Rescue tools. However this research effort stands in contrast to the practical reality in the field, where unmanned search and rescue tools have great difficulty finding their way to the end-users.

The ICARUS project addresses these issues, aiming to bridge the gap between the Research community and end-users, by developing a toolbox of integrated components for unmanned Search and Rescue.

Project leader: Royal Military Academy, Belgium

Space Applications Services NV (BE)

Estudios GIS SL (ES)


FraunhoferGesellschaft zur Foerderung der angewandten Forschung EV (DE)

Instytut Maszyn Matematycznych (PL)

Jean-Marc (Joseph) Desaulniers (FR)

Technische Universitaet Wien (AT)

Integrasys SA (ES)

Skybotix AG (CH)

Quobis Networks SA (ES)


Allen Vanguard Ltd (UK)

Universite de Neuchatel (CH)

Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (CH)

Atos Origin Sociedad Anonima Espanola (ES)

Technische Universitaet Kaiserslautern (DE)

NATO Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation (IT)

Calzoni s.r.l.( IT)

Metalliance (FR)

ESRI Portugal - Sistemas e Informação Geográfica, SA (PT)

Syseco SPRL (BE)

Centro de Investigação Naval (PT)

Belgian First Aid and Support Team (BE)

Link: http://www.fp7-icarus.eu/
Link to poster or video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=3nawdFCvc5M

Name: SUNNY - Smart UNmanned aerial vehicle sensor Network for detection of border crossing and illegal entrY
Dates: 2013 - 2016

SUNNY key idea is the design and realization of a platform to gather data and information from distributed sensors active 24/7 in any weather conditions in order to patrol frontiers and intercept intrusions.


The SUNNY project aims to contribute to EUROSUR by defining a new tool for collecting real-time information in operational scenarious. SUNNY represents a step beyond existing research projects due to the following main features:

  • A two-tier intelligent heterogeneous UAV sensor network will be considered in order to provide both large field and focused surveillance capabilities;
  • Novel sensors and on-board processing generation, integrated on UAV system, will be focus on low weight, low cost, high resolution;
  • The exploitation and adaptation of emerging standard wireless technologies and architectures.

The project main objectives are:

  • To innovate active and passive sensors on aircrafts for civil security application;
  • To analyze and test communications and data link on civil frequencies;
  • To implement Sensor Data fusion and cooperative missions in network;
  • To use of UAV with innovative board instrumentation;
  • To integrate information and correlations of events to mitigate false alarm effects.
Project leader: BMT Group Ltd



Queen Mary University of London


Technical University of Crete

NCSR ‘Demokritos’




INESC Technology & Science



MARLO a.s.




Link: n/a
Link to poster or video: n/a

Name: COGNAT - Underwater Glider Navigation for Acoustic Tomography
Dates: 2011 - 2013
Summary: The main objective this project is the demonstration of the simultaneous use of an acoustic system for tomography and underwater positioning for an autonomous glider.

Autonomous underwater gliders are robotic vehicles capable of changing its buoyancy in order to achieve vertical motion and profile the water column. Using a set of internal moving masses, together with external control surfaces such as wings and rudders, they can also change attitude and convert some vertical motion into the horizontal. This buoyancy-driven propulsion results in a tremendous reduction in power consumption, as compared to conventional Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) that typically use electric motors for propulsion, and thus represent a significant increase in mission range and duration. With the ability to travel autonomously for hundreds or thousands of miles, gliders may then be efficiently employed in large scale ocean studies, contributing to reduce the costs associated with oceanographic research. As the glider technology matures, new applications are being envisaged and one such example is the utilization of gliders to tow an acoustic array and test inversion methods for wide regions. The feasibility of tomography in a km-scale area and time scale of hours, using ships of opportunity as sound sources has already been proved and this concept can be advantageously extended to larger regions (tens-of-km wide), during days or weeks, with a glider. This is not feasible with expensive research ships with sound sources, and conventional autonomous underwater vehicles with acoustic receivers, which have typical autonomy of hours.

A major issue in testing acoustic inversion techniques is the knowledge of the precise position of both the acoustic transmitter and the receiving array. Currently, the position of the acoustic source can be estimated very accurately with differential GPS, but the position estimate of a receiving array towed from a glider is much less accurate, since the gliders have low accuracy in terms of horizontal navigation. 
The main objectives of the COGNAT project are to demonstrate an acoustic tomography system based on an autonomous underwater glider towing an acoustic array and, at the same time, use data from the tomography system to improve the accuracy of the glider position estimate.

In the COGNAT project, a commercially available glider will be modified to tow an acoustic array, which geometry will be estimated using distributed pressure and tilt sensors. The glider computational system will store information from the acoustic array synchronized with the acoustic source (using GPS clock). At the end of the mission, this information will be fused together with the internal navigation data, using smoothing techniques, so that the glider position throughout the mission can be accurately determined.

As far as tomography is concerned, the aim is to increase the working frequencies as compared to traditional low-mid acoustic frequencies, to take advantage of greater signal-to-noise ratios and better environmental discrimination, mainly in the ocean bottom parameters. In summary, from the acoustic viewpoint, the combination of oceanographic predictions with accurate glider navigation and acoustic tomography methods at high frequencies, will allow to assess unknown environmental properties and predict the acoustic field in the area of the glider navigation, from hours to days. This project will benefit from the complementary know-how of the two participating teams. The INESC-P team has ample experience in the design, development and operation of ocean robotic systems, working particularly in underwater robotics, while the CINTAL team has a long record of work in underwater acoustic signal processing, from inversion methods to underwater communications.

Project leader: INESC Technology & Science

INESC Technology & Science

SIPLAB CINTAL/Universidade do Algarve

Link: http://www.siplab.fct.ualg.pt/proj/cognat.shtml
Link to poster or video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDkRjbzJGj0

Name: RAIA - NW Iberian margin ocean observatory
Dates: 2009 - 2013

The Interreg IV-A North of Portugal-Galicia RAIA Project aims to develop an ocean observatory made up of a cross-frontier infrastructure of ocean observations plus an extensive network of operational oceanography. RAIA is based on the monitoring and forecast of the ocean environment through the use of numerical models and the construction and development of new oceanographic-meteorological platforms.

RAIA has the clear goal to consolidate the operational oceanography of the Iberian Margin given the economic importance of the activities developed in this zone (maritime transport, leisure, fishing or marine accidents to name a few), which will benefit from and be strengthened by the information, services and products provided by the observatory.


The principal objective of the project is the development of an ocean observatory made up of a cross- frontier infrastructure of ocean observation and by an extensive network of operational oceanography based on the monitoring and prediction of the ocean environment through the use of numerical models and the construction and development of new oceanographic-meteorological platforms. The project has a clear goal of structurization in regard to the consolidation of operational oceanography of the Iberian Margin given the economic importance of the activities developed in these zones (maritime transport, leisure, fishing, marine accidents, etc.), which will benefit and be strengthened through the information, services and products provided by the observatory. The consolidation of this infrastructure dedicated to the observation of the marine environment will place Galicia and Northern Portugal amongst the leading regions of the world in respect of the level of monitoring and modelling of the coastal zone.

The main objectives are:

  • Development of new technologies that will allow construction, completion and consolidation of cross-frontier ocean observation;
  • Adapt and validate operational ocean models that reproduce the regional ocean dynamics;
  • Establish a platform of cross-frontier inter- operability for the management and distribution of the data;
  • Develop a management model for the cross- frontier ocean observatory;
  • Develop and implement a wide range of products for the end users (current and mixing predictions, spill propagation models, larval dispersion models, sea state prediction, water quality forecasting.

It is intended to achieve the consolidation of a marine observatory in which both operational insti- tutes and end users will participate to ensure the long term continuity of the system and to improve the trans-national organization and coordination of operational oceanography.

The improved knowledge of the marine environment in the cross-frontier region of Galicia and Northern Portugal will have a positive impact in environmental, economic and scientific areas such as maritime safety, the inter-tidal zone, the quality of coastal waters, conservation of the coast, and so on. 

Project leader: MeteoGalicia






Universidad de Vigo

INESC Technology & Science


Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto

Instituto Hidrográfico

Universidade de Aveiro

Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade do Porto

Link: http://www.observatorioraia.org/
Link to poster or video:



Name: AquaMonitor - Optical fiber sensors for water quality monitoring applied to the determination of dissolved carbon dioxide in aquaculture
Dates: 2011 - 2013
Summary: In this project new solutions the detection of dissolved carbon dioxide in aquaculture facilities are developed. The sensors are based in the combination of conventional optical fiber technology, particularly refractometric sensors with sensitive layers that change their refractive index in the presence of carbon dioxide, thus enabling multipoint real time remote detection.

Water quality monitoring plays an essential role in the assessment and management of ecosystems health and human safety. In spite of this, determination of chemical and biological parameters is associated with expensive time consuming methods, and few solutions are available for on-line analysis. In this context, a multidisciplinary team will address the development of new solutions for the real time remote analysis of chemical parameters based in optical fiber technology and chemically sensitive membranes. Detection of dissolved CO2 in Aquaculture applications will be addressed as a model system to validate the technology. In times where natural fish stocks are threaten worldwide by increasing human demand, Aquaculture industry assumes a primary role in the balance between needs and ecosystem sustainability. This strategic importance was recognized by Portugal by establishing it as priority with PROMAR (Plano Operacional Pesca 2007-2013) where production is expected to increase 4x in this period. Such increase, however, requires intensive inland systems with high fish loads, high water consumption and large effluent discharges. Among strategies seeking economical and ecological sustainability are hyperintensive aquaculture systems, using stackable shallow raceways, drastically reducing production area and water consumption (recirculation >90%). Intensive Aquaculture systems result in effluents rich in CO2, solid wastes and nutrients. Water reuse implies advanced treatment systems, requiring on-line control of parameters such as dissolved O2 and CO2, ammonia or pH, in order to maintain efficiency and ensure fish welfare and growth. Determination of dissolved CO2 in such environment is not easy task. This conviction was reinforced by conclusions of European Project ‘Raceways’ (COOP-CT-016869), where members of this team participated, and it was verified that methods presently available are not satisfactory for the demands of Aquaculture industry. While electrochemical methods suffer from a diversity of chemical interferences, instruments based in absorbance spectroscopy work only in gas phase requiring separation membranes that suffer from biofouling. Techniques relying on luminescent or colorimetric pH indicators have been evolving fast, but are not suitable for multipoint measurements. In this context, interferometric platforms where refractive index changes induced by the analyte in a sensitive membrane are measured are highly attractive[8]. They can be based in standard telecom optoelectronics, lowering cost and promoting multipoint, multiparameter capability and real time remote monitoring. In this project the development of new configurations for multipoint optical fiber dissolved CO2 sensors is addressed exploring the combination of standard refractometric configurations with sensitive membranes that change its refractive index in the presence of CO2.

Project leader: INESC Technology & Science


Departamento de Química FCUP

Link: n/a
Link to poster or video: Aquamonitor poster


SENSOCEAN - Vector sensor system for ocean exploration

Dates: 2010 - 2013
Summary: SENSOCEAN is a project aiming at developing an acoustic vector sensor array (VSA) for an underwater mobile platform (AUV) with application in acoustical exploration of the marine environment. Acoustic vector sensors measure both pressure and the three components of particle velocity. 

Vector sensors can be configured into an array of elements, VSA, providing substantially higher directivity with a much smaller aperture than an array of traditional scalar hydrophones. Thus VSA becomes very attractive to build compact system with high spatial resolution, that can be installed in underwater AUVs. Although the system is intended to be an useful tool in a different type of situations where localized measurements should be made to attain a finer characterization of the marine environment, in the present project the focus is on applications related to the exploration of sea bottom, such as sonar imaging of bottom structures, archaeological imaging or the characterization of the sea-bottom and sub-bottom linked with the development of power plants of wind or wave energy in the near shore shallow waters.

Project leader: SIPLAB CINTAL/Universidade do Algarve

Link: http://www.siplab.fct.ualg.pt/proj/sensocean.shtml
Link to poster or video:

Past projects related with Ocean Technologies:






INESC TEC, UFJF, Investco, Brazil

Development of an autonomous underwater submarine to inspect the lake bed, the dam wall and all submersed objects in the Lajeado reservoir, Tocantins, Brazil

2011 - 2012


INESC TEC, ITQB Optical Fibre Sensors for Distributed Monitoring of Dissolved Oxygen and Temperature 2006 - 2008



3D mapping of tunnels and other land or underwater infrastructures

2009 - 2012


CINTAL, SSI - Selex Sistemi Integrati, Stiftelsen SINTEF ICT, ISME - Integrated Systems for Marine Environnent, FOI - Swedish Defence Research Agency, KM - Kongsberg Maritime

Underwater Acoustic Network

2009 - 2011

OAEx (EU FP7 Marie-Curie, IRSES)

CINTAL, ULB - Université Libre de Bruxelles, COPPE - Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, IEAPM - Instituto de Estudos do Mar Almirante Paulo Moreira and C-MARS Canadian Marine Acoustic Remote Sensing Facility (UVic)

Ocean Acoustic Exploration

2009 - 2012



Advanced methodologies and techniques development for coastal zone monitoring 

2010 - 2011


INESC TEC, FCT, Águas do Oeste

Automatic mapping of sewage outfall plumes based on optical sensors

2008 - 2011


INESC TEC, Águas do Douro e Paiva, FCT

Monitoring and prediction of water quality parameters

2008 - 2011


INESC TEC, Artescan, EDP

Bathymetric surveys of the mouth of the river
Tua to construct a new dam



INESC TEC, FCT/Centro de Geofísica FCUL/ CESAM UA

Advanced Monitoring and Diagnostics of Ria de Aveiro Physical Dynamics

2007 - 2009


Wave Energy Center, CINTAL

Wave Energy Acoustic Monitoring

2007 - 2010


Instituto Superior Tecnico, CINTAL

Probabilistic High-Frequency Ocean Tomography for Underwater Communications and Navigation

2007 - 2010



Improved Navigation with Cooperative Robotic Platforms

2005 - 2008


INESC TEC, FEUP, Águas do Oeste

Modular Autonomous Robot for Environment Sampling

2006 - 2007


CINTAL and Instituto Hidrográfico 

Underwater Acoustic Barriers

2006 - 2007



Navigation and Control for Multiple Underwater Vehicles

2004 - 2007


CINTAL and Instituto Hidrográfico 

Non-cooperant Underwater Acoustic Channel Estimation

2004 - 2007


CINTAL and Instituto Hidrográfico 

Environmental assessment with a Random Array of Acoustic Receivers

2004 - 2007


INESC TEC, Águas do Douro e Paiva, FCT

Models for predicting
algae blooms

2004 - 2006



Advanced Technologies for Monitoring Estuaries and Coastal Environments

2001 - 2004


CINTAL, Instituto Hidrográfico and University of Algarve

Acoustic Tomography Monitoring System

2000 - 2004