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Fish movement and migrations are key processes of ocean ecosystems and are critical for their productivity and health. Sustainable fisheries and ocean management rely on a profound knowledge of how fish move and distribute over different scales space and time, how fish respond to changes in the ocean environment and human activity, and how it influences their reproduction and survival. The ability to make genuine and reliable observations of the behaviour of free-ranging fish in their natural environment is thus of crucial importance both from the perspective of pure scientific inquiry and for devising sound ocean management practices.

As a merger of the technological domains of autonomous vehicle systems and acoustic fish telemetry, the NTNU FishOtter project aims to develop an autonomous surface vehicle (ASV) system capable of robotic search, localization and autonomous tracking of free-ranging fish carrying miniature acoustic transmitter tags. A robotic fish telemetry system can push current operational limits of fish tracking studies and enable new discoveries within the movement ecology of fish, and fisheries sciences in general. The NTNU FishOtter concept is currently being demonstrated using a fleet of vehicles consisting of intelligent and collaborating catamarans equipped with time-synchronized acoustic receivers and other sensors. The project includes a range of R&D topics and challenges, such as:

  • Optimized hardware and software design for vehicle controls, communications, sensors and payload integrations
  • Optimal search, path and mission planning
  • Underwater target localization and stealthy tracking
  • Multi-agent formation control, edge intelligence and machine learning
  • Adaptive and simultaneous environmental mapping and tracking

The NTNU FishOtter is an unmanned catamaran propelled by differential electrical thrusters. The vehicle is built upon the hull, thrusters and power-distribution system from a Maritime Robotics Otter, while the sensor- and control systems are designed by NTNU. This design is based on the LSTS toolchain, with DUNE running onboard the vessel.


This wiki is maintained by Nikolai LauvÄs, PhD student at the Department of Engineering Cybernetics, NTNU.

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  • Last modified: 2022/10/26 19:57
  • by joarve