Underwater Drone To Help Divers in Distress


Published Jul 27, 2015 8:51 PM by The Maritime Executive

CADDY is an underwater drone and floating satellite designed to understand the body language of a scuba divers in distress.

The Cognitive Autonomous Diving Buddy, from where the acronym originates, is an EU-funded project currently being tested to ensure it is smart enough to be used by divers who scan the seabed alone.

"When you consider that half of diving accidents involve unaccompanied scuba-divers, CADDY will surely revolutionize the underwater experience,” said Professor Salih Murat Egi, coordinator of the project for DAN Europe, an international non-profit medical and research organization dedicated to the health and safety of divers. 
As part of the project, DAN is currently involved in the vehicle testing and regulating the maneuvering capabilities of the devices to ensure all equipment used is safe.

"Diver safety is an essential component of the CADDY project and whenever diver safety is involved, DAN steps in. We're here to represent the diving community and assist to build future technologies that will take diving to the next level," he added.

CADDY is essentially composed of two robots operating autonomously — one from the surface and another one from the vicinity of the diver. The latter will interpret a scuba-diver's behavior and is intelligent enough to detect anomalies. Meanwhile, the surface robot navigates the underwater drone and can communicate with the command center in case of emergency.

CADDY has three main functions to ensure a safe and carefree diving experience: guide the diver, continuously monitor his body language and assist his work through automated camera and torch light.

"DAN's team of experienced researchers is also reviewing a system that generates an automatic diver status report generation system and testing the use of sophisticated acoustical communication technologies that relays the diver cognitive status to the command center" said Egi.

The diving buddy will also be trained to guide a diver from one spot to another on a predefined path so in case of emergency, the diver will be steered to a safe route to the surface or vessel.

CADDY is a collaborative project funded by the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme FP7 (Cognitive Systems & Robotics) and is being implemented over three years with the expertise of Universities and research institutes in Croatia, Italy, Portugal, Germany, Austria, UK and Malta. It will be completed by December 2016.