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DESIGN AND VALIDATION OF AN UNMANNED MARINE ROBOT FOR RECURRENT ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING OF OFFSHORE MINING OPERATIONS

Trabajo ganador en el área de Gestión Ambiental en el Foro TIS, PERUMIN 35.

Por: Francisco Cuellar, CEO de Tumi Robotics.


Abstract

According to the World Maritime Forum, in recent years the impact of industrial activities near the sea and the availability of data and information that allow economic activities to be carried out in a sustainable manner are of great concern. 

Peru has approved the multi-sectoral National Maritime Policy 2019-2030 through Supreme Decree No. 012-2019-DE whose mission involves articulating sectoral policies and promoting the efficient use and sustainable exploitation of the Peruvian sea. 

In contrast to this vision, the main problem has been identified as the scarce information on oceanographic and environmental parameters that allow for a systematic monitoring of mining operations in the Peruvian sea. Some of the causes are that the traditional methods of recurrent environmental monitoring and high spatial resolution have a high economic cost, human resources and time. Therefore, an unmanned marine robot or Autonomous Surface Vehicle (ASV) is proposed for recurrent environmental monitoring of Antamina's mining operations in the sea of Huarmey - Ancash. 

The vehicle can be operated remotely or autonomously by GPS, is equipped with outboard thrusters that allow navigation in the open sea, and a suspension system for leveling the main platform. The solution allows the mining company to carry out monitoring operations remotely, without the use of fuel, without putting people's lives at risk, and collecting a large amount of data on a recurring basis. 

The tasks of the unmanned marine vehicle include monitoring of marine infrastructure, environmental monitoring of water quality and seabed, and hydrographic characterization of the operating environment. For this purpose, the robot is equipped with: A remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) for real-time visualization of the seabed, a multi-parameter probe with sensors for acidity, temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, chlorophyll and phytoplankton, a weather station to measure wind speed and direction, surface temperature, rainfall, humidity, light intensity and ultra violet radiation, an ADCP echo sounder to identify current velocity along the water head, a Niskin bottle rosette for water sampling, a Van Veen dredge for marine sediment sampling and a bathymetry echo sounder.

Calculations performed to validate the design characteristics of the hulls to ensure adequate buoyancy, simulations to validate the navigation of the ASV and results of the implementation with controlled environment tests are shown.

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