Riverwatch is an autonomous Catamaran with piggyback Hexacopter

January 30, 2014 17:01 | By | Add a Comment

Riverwatch is a “Marsupial Surface-Aerial Robotic Team for Riverine Environmental Monitoring”. What sounds like the robot version of Captain Planet is actually a very fancy set of very different vehicles: One is a completely autonomous catamaran with GPS/IMU navigation, LIDAR and SONAR, the other is an autonomous hexacopter capable of takeoff and landing right on the aforementioned catamaran.


This combined system is tasked with collecting environmental data of rivers. The tilting LIDAR sensor is used for surface obstacle avoidance while the sonar prevents the vehicle from running aground, but they also use a camera with image recognition software to determine the transition between water and land. The hexacopter is used to augment the field of view and provide enhanced visual navigation capabilities to the catamaran. This is of course a scientific prototype of the university of Lisbon, funded by ECHORD.

Quite impressive demonstration video after the break.


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