ARchaeological RObot systems for the World’s Seas


Start: September the 1st, 2012
End: August the 31st, 2015

The project is supported by the European Commission under the Environment Theme of the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development.

ARROWS proposes to adapt and develop low cost autonomous underwater vehicle technologies to significantly reduce the cost of archaeological operations, covering the full extent of archaeological campaign.

Benefiting from the significant investments already made for military security and offshore oil and gas applications, the project aims to demonstrate an illustrative portfolio of mapping, diagnosis, excavation and security tasks.

ARROWS approach is to identify the archaeologists’ requirements in all phases of the campaign, identify problems and propose technological solutions with the technological readiness levels that predict their maturation for exploitation within 3-5 years.

RostroEgadi1The individual technologies are then developed during the course of the project using agile development method comprising rapid cycles of testing and comparison against the end user requirements.

To ensure the wide exploitability of the results the requirements are defined and the solutions are tested in two historically significant but environmentally very different contexts, in The Mediterranean Sea and in The Baltic Sea.

Both immediate, low risk and long term, high risk developments will be pursued. In particular:

  • Fast a low cost horizontal surveys of large areas using customised AUVs with multimodal sensing.
  • Fast and low cost semi-automated data analysing tools for site and object relocation
  • High quality maps from better image reconstruction methods and better localization abilities of AUVs.
  • Shipewreck penetration and internal mapping using small low cost vehicles localising using fixed pingers.
  • Soft excavation tool for diagnosis and excavation of fragile objects
  • Mixed reality environments for virtual exploration of archaeological sites.
  • Active intrude detection methods

The ARROWS consortium comprises expertise from underwater archaeology, underwater engineering, robotics, image processing and recognition from academia and industry.