On the 7th, 8th and 9th of February 2017, a multidisciplinary team of INESC TEC was welcomed by the Arsenal do Alfeite at the Navy Base of Alfeite, near Lisbon, Portugal, to test the first prototype of the FLEXUS USV.
The experiments were performed using the FLEXUS low logistics setup, composed of a man-portable USV and a Base Station. The vehicle operated several hours, performing both remote operations and autonomous missions over two days of trials in the Tejo river. The vehicle’s capabilities were demonstrated under a realistic and typical outdoor environment, collecting navigation data, images and acting as a relay point to a node that could not directly communicate with the Base Station. In these first trials, the FLEXUS USV completed more than 8km traveling on a single battery charge. The FLEXUS telecommunications system was also tested, which validated network connectivity between Base Station and USV. Successful data exchange for a distance of about 550m was achieved.
The trials were supported by Arsenal do Alfeite and by the Naval School, which also accompanied the experiments through the participation of several members from the two institutions.