Project Description


Critical maritime infrastructures are at risk and can only be protected against sabotage, attacks or destruction with great effort. Solutions to improve protection were developed jointly by Fraunhofer IOSB and Fraunhofer CML in the HUGIN project. HUGIN set itself the goal of researching and improving the collaboration and cooperation of intelligent, autonomous surface vehicles (ASV) so that the protection of such infrastructures can be carried out more efficiently and in a more resource-saving manner with unmanned vehicles in the future. 

Project objectives:

A group of ASV shall be enabled to coordinate internally, understand complex tasks, translate them into specific plans and process them cooperatively. In doing so, they can react to the environment both situationally and system-related and respond dynamically to changing requirements with plan adjustments. The intended use cases are the comprehensive, indefinite control and monitoring of infrastructure, the protection of critical properties or transportation routes, the search for mines and munitions remnants on the seabed or the monitoring of environmental conditions.

Algorithms and technologies from a wide range of fields, such as artificial intelligence, data analysis and control technology, were integrated in such a way that the overall demonstrator, consisting of several ASV, can plan missions independently in various scenarios and execute them in a resource-optimized manner. In addition to the development of a modular and interchangeable control system, the flexible use of different carrier platforms and sensor technology was also taken into account by using different types of watercraft as well as heterogeneous sensor equipment.

The HUGIN project investigated various aspects, including communication and coordination between unmanned watercraft, their autonomous navigation and path planning, sensor and data fusion and the development of intelligent algorithms and decision-making systems. The Fraunhofer HUGIN thus project plays an important role in the development of technologies for the use of intelligent ASV in maritime applications and research into cooperation between autonomous vehicles on the water.

The results of the project are promising: advantages of the solution include highly efficient 24/7 protection of critical maritime infrastructure and a significant reduction in costs compared to manned concepts. In addition to the protection of ports and terminals, water-based handling facilities, e.g. for LNG, as well as offshore facilities can be monitored by HUGIN. 

Tasks of the CML:

The CML has integrated its SeaLion USV (unmanned surface vehicle) into the joint autonomy framework. SeaLion served as the lead vehicle in the USV swarm. The CML was also responsible for ship detection and classification through data fusion of lidar, camera and AIS data.  

Project consortium:

Fraunhofer IOSB, Fraunhofer CML

HUGIN was funded from December 2022 to November 2023 as an AI demonstrator project of the Fraunhofer Big Data Alliance.