Roaz is a robotic unmanned surface vehicle developed as a testbed for research and development on marine robotics. It has performed many operational missions at sea in a wide range of scenarios. It was also one of the maritime robotic platforms used in the demonstration of the ICARUS European project to deploy robotic life rafts, in search and rescue operations.
Roaz is an electric powered 4.2m long catamaran capable of autonomous operation up to 8hrs and up to 10knots of speed, with onboard computer navigation and control. It is equipped with a precision dual band RTK GPS receiver and inertial navigation system providing not only precise location for navigation purposes but also accurate geo-referencing of sensory data.
Above water, Roaz is equipped with a thermographic and a visible spectrum cameras (with on board processing that can be applied in search operations) and a RADAR used for large obstacle detection. In addition, for close range environment 3D modeling and obstacle detection the system can be equipped with a 3D Velodyne LIDAR. The robotic vehicle is also equipped with a single beam echo sounder, an Imagenex DeltaT multibeam sonar and an Imagenex Sportscan side scan sonar. These sonars are used for underwater environment modeling and bathymetry tasks.
For above water communications when the vehicle is within range, ROAZ is equipped with an IEEE 802.11a link, an Iridium satellite communications link and a long range Freewave serial radio link. The on-board computer is responsible for the autonomous mission control, and can be used to process the vehicle sensors to detect relevant events or perform sensor oriented missions.
The navigation range and vehicle autonomy can easily be extended to over 50Nm either with adding more batteries or with the installation of an onboard electrical generator, since the vehicle has currently over 200kg of available payload. Roaz has already been used to carry and deploy the MARES AUV, during the “euRathlon 2015” robotics competition in search and rescue scenarios.
In the PISCES system, the Roaz ASV will have a dual purpose: as a transportation, launch and recovery system for the deep water AUV, and as a host for the acoustic emitter for long range bathymetry.