NRP Gago Coutinho and support rhib aerial shot, taken by FEUP X8-03 UAV
17 Jul 2015

Sunny, but windy day. FEUP UAV team could only fly once, around 2:30pm. X8-03 flew with the IR camera and also a compact visible light camera for aerial pictures. The UAV performed rows and cross-patterns trajectories over the ship and its surrounding area. We also tested a Follow Reference type of maneuver, which makes it easier for us to follow the whale sightings coordinates (which keep changing!).

16 Jul 2015

With strong winds and rainy clouds on the horizon, FEUP UAV was forced to postpone their flights to the next day.

Meanwhile, the team on shore run a couple of tests with the lauv-noptilus vehicles inside the harbour. Even though the operational area inside the harbour was quite small it proved to be suficient for the maneuvers required to tune the vehicles' navigation control. This task allowed to improve the vehicles' navigation and, therefore, reduce the error on the vehicles' estimated position while dead-reckoning and thus decrease the bathymetry position error.

A RHIB keeps a watchful eye during all operations for UAVs and AUVs.
15 Jul 2015

Wednesday July 15th was the first slated operations day with our research vessel, the Gago Coutinho out in the open ocean with the primary goal of tracking cetaceans and using autonomous robotic platforms (aerial and underwater) to characterize the surface and upper water-column for ecological research. 

14 Jul 2015
As the ship was close to shore, we were in a restricted flight area and so we had to ask permission to the local air traffic control. We only got an hour and a half window to fly, so we made the best of it to try out the launch and recovery setup on the ship (catapult and landing net). The takeoff from the aft of the ship proved to be a good choice, as well as the landing net placement which did very well also. This flight also served to test the communications setup with success.
Bruno Loureiro "launching" the LAUV Xplore-1 for the T-REX surveys.
13 Jul 2015

Day one on our research vessel the Portuguese Navy vessel NRP Gago Coutinho started off with all of us boarding early at the pier in Horta. A slight delay because of some booting problems with the ships systems (bad electronics card) got us to leave port around 10am. On the transit to station (the point where we were to be stationary for launch operations) a number of us visited the bridge to meet with the ships captain and crew. Captain Perico and XO (Executive Officer) Vitorino were very gracious and showed us around the ships command/control systems. 

Late evening scouting and setup of comms gear on the birds nest of Gago Coutinho.
12 Jul 2015

Sunday morning started like the day before with people drifling slowly into the DOP warehouse 'lab'. But the pace picked up quickly soon after. Mike and Scott said goodbye and a thank you to all with cakes and wine post lunch (remember this is Portugal!) which were quickly dispatched. Zé and Bruno deployed Xplore-2 in the harbor to check for sensing error corrections from the previous days deployment and Zé and Frédéric also checked Iridium connections testing the upper water-column AUVs outside. 

A joint display of FEUP and NUWC vehicles assembled for REP-15.
11 Jul 2015

Saturday 11th was a really slow day primarily because of unstable weather which ensured no UAVs could fly. Zé Pinto and Frédéric continued to debug issues related to Xplore 1 and 2 and spent the time to get ready for a Sunday morning test run, possibly at Feteira. Others spent the down time to deal with email, fix lapsed things and in the case of the NTNU team to go whale watching along with Maria Costa.

João and Kanna conferred on next steps especially in the context of Phase-II and Mike and Scott were busy packing up. Alex and Ivan left Horta as planned (or so we think).

Mike Incze of NUWC deploying his Iver off of Pico island.
10 Jul 2015

Friday July 10th and pretty much the entire team moved to Pico with an early morning ferry ride. NTNU, Mike's team and FEUP UAVs went over while Paulo Dias and João took the faster way, a RHIB to continue with bathymetric mapping of the south coast of Pico. They managed to do a long 18km transect along the south coast as planned with excellent results.

Start of mission on the DOP vessel Águas Vivas with João Pereira and Paulo Dias from FEUP off the southern coast of Pico and aided by DOP personnel.
09 Jul 2015

Thursday was a strange day, a mixed bag of successes and some serious injuries; the latter leading to multiple hospital visits!

Kanna deploying the Xplore LAUV with the HOLO cam from the dock. Only because he had sandals on....
08 Jul 2015

Day 3 of the experiment started benignly, with Paulo Dias heading off to Pico island to continue bathymetric surveys along the south coast for habitat mapping. On the way he and Bruno encountered the Gago Coutinho in the channel. Compass calibration of the vehicle continued to plague this vehicle and on return Paulo was not too happy with the results. The results of the transect were shown to Jorge Fontes and next steps to getting it 'right' are still being worked.

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