Optical Communication

  • We are developing an optical communication system that complements and integrates with existing acoustic systems resulting in an underwater communications capability offering high data rates and low latency when within optical range combined with long range and robustness of acoustics when outside of the optical range.
  • Amongst a wide array of applications, this combination of capabilities will make it possible to operate self-powered ROVs from support vessels or platforms without requiring a physical connection to the ROV.
  • Such a capability will help simplify operations and potentially reduce costs through the use of less capable surface vessels.
  • New deployment strategies may offer game-changing opportunities within all areas of undersea activities.
  • For example, rapid event response will be enhanced and repair and maintenance of the emerging ocean observatory infrastructure will become more cost effective.
    • Such through-water communications will likewise enable the exchange of large data files from fixed sensors using AUVs (or ROVs) as data mules,
    • shuttling real-time video from untethered vehicles for inspection,
    • identification, and other related operations.
    • Interconnectivity for dense arrays of underwater sensors without the need for expensive and difficult to install undersea cables is also possible.
  • An unmanned batter- operated the vehicle, dedicated to a subsea node, that can be wirelessly operated though a combination of acoustic and optical communications, will be an important asset for both scientific exploration and commercial applications.
  • We have demonstrated robust multipoint, low power omnidirectional optical communications over ranges of 100 meters at data rates up to 10 mega bits per second using a few tens of Watts of battery power with small, inexpensive transmitters and receivers.