Acoustic Modem

Acoustic Modem for Micro AUVs

Fact Sheet

Contact Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bernd-Christian Renner
Financing Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH)

Project Description


A mandatory prerequisite for underwater networks is communication. Here, acoustics is the preferred choice, because radio and light are restricted to extremely low distances of a few meters at most. Unfortunately, existing hardware is typically prohibitively expensive (several thousand Euros per device), consumes too much power (several tens of Watts), or offers too low a data rate (a few bits per second only).

Goals and Contributions

To fill this gap, we developed a low-power, low-cost experimentation and research platform for acoustic underwater communication and ranging. This platform is the fundament for our research on medium access, routing, and localization protocols based on underwater acoustic communication. It allows us to conduct real-world experiments and therefore develop protocols based on realistic assumptions, giving a great advantage over purely theoretical work based on ideal simulation environments.


  • Christian Renner, Jan Heitmann and Fabian Steinmetz. ahoi: Inexpensive, Low-Power Communication and Localization for Underwater Sensor Networks and µAUVs. Transactions on Sensor Networks (TOSN). 16 1-46. ACM, 2020. [doi] [BibTex]
  • Alberto Signori, Filippo Campagnaro, Fabian Steinmetz, Bernd-Christian Renner, and Michele Zorzi. Data Gathering from a Multimodal Dense Underwater Acoustic Sensor Network Deployed in Shallow Fresh Water Scenarios. Journal of Sensor and Actuator Networks. 8 (4), 55. MDPI AG, 2019. title cover story [www] [BibTex]
  • Fabian Steinmetz and Christian Renner. Resilience against Shipping Noise and Interference in Low-Power Acoustic Underwater Communication. Proceedings of the MTS/IEEE Oceans Conference and Exposition. Seattle, WA, USA. October 2019. [www] [BibTex]
  • Fabian Steinmetz and Christian Renner. Resilience against Shipping Noise and Interference of the AHOI Acoustic Underwater Modem. Proceedings of the 18th GI/ITG KuVS Fachgespräch "Sensornetze". Magdeburg, Germany. September 2019. [www] [BibTex]
  • Fabian Steinmetz, Jan Heitmann and Christian Renner. A Practical Guide to Chirp Spread Spectrum for Acoustic Underwater Communication in Shallow Waters. Proceedings of the 13th ACM International Conference on Underwater Networks & Systems. Shenzhen, China. December 2018. Best Paper Award [www] [BibTex]
  • Jan Heitmann, Fabian Steinmetz and Christian Renner. A Case for Chirp Modulation for Low-Power Acoustic Communication in Shallow Waters. Proceedings of the 17th GI/ITG KuVS Fachgespräch "Sensornetze". Braunschweig, Germany. September 2018. [www] [BibTex]
  • Christian Renner. Packet-Based Ranging with a Low-Power, Low-Cost Acoustic Modem for Micro AUVs. Proceedings of the 11th International ITG Conference on Systems, Communications and Coding. Hamburg, Germany. February 2017. [BibTex]
  • Jan Heitmann, Lucas Bublitz, Timo Kortbrae and Christian Renner. Evolution of an Acoustic Modem for Micro AUVs. Proceedings of the 16th GI/ITG KuVS Fachgespräch "Sensornetze". Hamburg, Germany. September 2017. [www] [BibTex]
  • Benjamin Meyer, Christian Renner and Erik Maehle. Versatile Sensor and Communication Expansion Set for the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle MONSUN. Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Climbing and Walking Robots and Support Technologies for Mobile Machines. London, UK. September 2016. [BibTex]
  • Christian Renner and Alexander J. Golkowski. Acoustic Modem for Micro AUVs: Design and Practical Evaluation. Proceedings of the 11th ACM International Conference on Underwater Networks & Systems. Shanghai, China. October 2016. [www] [BibTex]
  • Christian Renner, Alexander Gabrecht, Benjamin Meyer, Christoph Osterloh and Erik Maehle. Low-Power Low-Cost Acoustic Underwater Modem. Quantitative Monitoring of the Underwater Environment: Results of the International Marine Science and Technology Event MOQESM'14 in Brest, France, ser. Ocean Engineering & Oceanography. Springer, 2016. [BibTex]
  • Christian Renner, Alexander J. Golkowski and Erik Maehle. Poster: Affordable Acoustic Modem for Small-Sized Autonomous Underwater Vehicles. Proceedings of the International Conference on Embedded Wireless Systems and Networks. Graz, Austria. February 2016. [BibTex]