Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 December 2014
Underwater sensor networks (UWSNs) are wireless networks of autonomous sensor-aided devices, called motes or sensor nodes, deployed over a region of water for the collaborative execution of a given task. Nearly 70% of the earth’s surface is covered by water, mainly oceans. The vast majority of this area remains unexplored. The advent of UWSNs provides a new direction in the field of oceanic exploration and information collection. Major applications of UWSNs exist in both the military and civilian fields. Oceanographic data collection, environmental monitoring, pollution monitoring and control, intrusion detection, mapping of underwater area, detection of explosives, mines, oil and minerals, and guided navigation of rescue teams by collaboration with autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) are a few such potential applications .
Recently, a lot of real-world short-term deployments have been performed and long-term projects have been undertaken using UWSNs for various applications . One such initial experiment was done in Seaweb . Seaweb was targeted for military applications with a goal of designing specific protocols for detection of submarines and communication between them. In this case, UWSN was deployed in a coastal area, and experiments were carried out for several days. Various institutes have taken such initiatives for designing autonomous and robotic vehicles to be used in underwater exploration. In an underwater data-collection experiment undertaken by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, both fixed nodes and autonomous vehicles were used . Another recent initiative was undertaken by IBM and Beacon Institute jointly . The project concerns on environmental monitoring application to study and collect the biological, chemical, and physical information of the Hudson River in New York.