Acoustic Swarm Localization

Cooperative Localization for a Swarm of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles

Fact Sheet

Contact Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bernd-Christian Renner
Staff Yuehan Jiang
Financing Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH)
Duration 11/2022 – 10/2026

Project Description



For very long time, swarms of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) were economically prohibitive and mostly used for offshore missions. With smaller and cheaper AUVs developed in the past decade, the utilization of swarms of AUVs has become an emerging topic in underwater research and civil applications. For example, AUVs swarms can be used for exploration and monitoring in shallow water environments, such as ports, harbors and fisheries. Compared to a single AUV, AUV swarms address the issues of limited energy budget and covering of area, insufficient sensing capabilities, while offering reduced operation time required and collaborative decision-making abilities. Nevertheless, due to the absence of satellite navigation, underwater localization is still a major technical difficulty for swarms of AUVs.

Acoustic localization is the canocial way of performing underwater localization which enables the widest range coverage. The high cost of commercial underwater acoustic localization solutions, however, is non-negligible for large-sized swarms, which imposes a need for cost-saving alternatives with affordable devices. In this context, new cost-effective underwater localization strategies need to be developed for swarm vehicles in a scalable manner.

Goals and Contributions

The goal of this research project is to develop such cooperative localization strategies for swarms of underwater AUVs that is able to provide accurate positioning for the vehicles throughout the mission utilizing sensing techniques including low-cost acoustic modems. There are several aspects in this research which we intend to investigate, which include:

  • Accurate localization and optimization methods for swarms of AUVs.

  • Design of scalable, efficient and reliable communication and networking for swarms of AUVs.

  • Development of online localization systems for swarms of AUVs fusing multiple sensing technologies.

  • Uncertainty-aware swarm AUV localization.