RanMarine Technology's drone initiates Telekom's Precise Positioning System for precise navigation - The EE

RanMarine Technology’s drone initiates Telekom’s Precise Positioning System for precise navigation

Richard Hardiman of RanMarine Technology

RanMarine Technology has developed an autonomously floating drone for cleaning waters. It recently started using Telekom’s Precise Positioning System for precise navigation. It supplements data from satellites and provides more precise information than these. In this way, drone avoids breaks and detours. 

Diligent helper against flotsam

About 80% of plastic waste in oceans comes from rivers, canals, harbors, and beaches. To clean up these waterways and counteract increasing pollution of oceans, RanMarine has introduced WasteShark. This aqua drone, boosted by two electric motors, swims through targeted areas of polluted waterways, swallowing floating waste such as plastic bottles and bags or disturbing biomass such as invasive algae. The device can be controlled by radio but, it can independently follow a set route, funded by the EU’s (European Unions) Horizon 2020 programme, among others.

The cleaning drone is equipped with a camera, sensors and a GNSS (global navigation satellite system) receiver. It orients itself independently in water and avoids obstacles. A front camera and a LiDAR (light detection and ranging) sensor help it do so. The sensor detects objects by laser and displays them in three dimensions. Users have previously defined waypoints of collection route on a digital map. One weakness so far has been inaccuracy in determining position via satellite. It can be several metres. This is too imprecise for WasteShark, which is supposed to use sensors to measure water quality, among other things, and then transmit measurement points precisely. And in future, floating robot will be able to empty its waste container and recharge its battery at a docking station. 

Precise Positioning delivers correction data from the cloud

This is where Telekom’s Precise positioning solution comes in which enables extremely precise determination of the position of mobile vehicles to within a few centimetres. A nationwide network of hundreds of reference stations on several continents measures local satellite navigation interference. The cloud-based service from Telekom partner Swift Navigation sends corrected position data via mobile communications to WasteShark, which uses information for more precise navigation.

Precise Positioning brings RanMarine several advantages at once. The drone find its way safely to loading and unloading station. It travels smoothly on marked course and can collect more waste in same amount of time thereby reducing costs and requiring fewer charging cycles. In addition, location and timing of water quality data measured along the way, such as pH (potential of hydrogen) or temperature, can be accurately determined. The Aqua Drone can avoid obstacles even more securely. 

“Telecom’s system is significantly more reliable than public corrective services and works out-of-the-box. In addition, the service is available in almost every area in the world where our WasteShark is deployed. Precise Positioning provides us with the accuracy and scalability we need to continually evolve our Aqua drones.” says Richard Hardiman, founder and CEO of RanMarine Technology.

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