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Development of technology for autonomous, bio-interactive and high quality data acquisition from aquaculture net cages

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Illustration of cage with fish and AUV
Illustration CageReporter

The main idea for the project CageReporter is to use autonomous and non-tethered vehicles as a carrier of sensor systems for data acquisition, where the data are transferred from sea based fish cages to a centralized land base. The vehicle will use active motion control, and acquire data from the cage environment while exploring the water volume, hereinafter named cage space. Such vehicles are commonly referred to as AUVs (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle), which typically have a large capability of self-management and self-control.

The main project objective is to develop technology for autonomous functionality for adaptive mission planning to achieve high quality data acquisition from the cage space. One of the most important capabilities within this context is to operate in interaction with the biomass (bio-interactive) and the aquaculture structures.

The project will address many challenges within the aquaculture industry related to poor accuracy and representative sampling of important variables to describe both details and the whole picture. A successful project outcome will lead to new technology for collection of high resolution data in time and space that could be utilized for assessment of the fish farm state, grouped within three main areas: A) fish, B) aquaculture structures and C) production environment. Examples of areas of applications are detection of abnormal fish behaviour, net inspection and mapping of water quality. CageReporter will provide for continuous and close follow up of the current situation and be the mobile eyes of the fish farmer in the cage space environment.
The project idea is based on using low-cost technology for underwater communication, vehicle positioning and camera systems for 3D vision.

The project will carry out research within four main areas:

  • Underwater communication and position reference systems
  • Data acquisition and real-time analysis of data quality
  • Autonomous systems
  • Underwater docking systems

The CageReporter project will perform breakthrough work regarding which sensors, communication technology and autonomous systems should be combined to perform data capture in interaction with the fish, infrastructure and production environment.


Main Goal:

The project will develop autonomous resident technology for high quality data capture describing the conditions in the cage volume associated with the fish, infrastructure and production environment.

Sub-Goal 1: Develop application-adapted underwater communications technology, position reference and 3D vision systems that reduce the cost by a factor of 5-10 compared to conventional technology.

Sub-Goal 2: The underwater vehicle will have autonomous functions that enable adaptive operation planning and bio-interactive data capture, with a minimum of operator interaction.

Sub-Goal 3: High quality data and metadata must be obtainable from the entire cage volume.

Sub-Goal 4: The integrated system consisting of underwater vehicle with autonomous functionality, the underwater positioning system and the 3D vision system will be validated in full-scale trials for the following case studies: A) FISH CONDITION, B) CAGE INSPECTION, and C) PRODUCTION ENVIRONMENT.


Budget: 18.1MNOK (RCN)



Key Factors

Project duration

01/01/2017 - 31/12/2019

The project is 50% financed
by the Norwegian Research Council