Overview: mu-Net is a community-shared, open-source, open-architecture infrastructure for mobile underwater wireless networks. The infrastructure consists of 1) re-configurable software suites for simulations and emulation, 2) miniaturized aquatic robots for lab tests, 3) commercial-off-the-shelf autonomous surface vehicles (ASVs) and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) for field tests, and 4) user services to support shared usage. The project goal is to establish an open ecosystem that can support research and education agendas across communities of acoustic communications, underwater networks, aquatic robotics, and data sciences.

The aquatic environments, including the oceans, lakes, and rivers, are the basis for life. The next research frontier is to use fleets of aquatic robots, both ASVs and AUVs, to perform distributed sampling in the aquatic environments. Currently, there are no shared, open infrastructures available to support related research. Proprietary infrastructures, which are housed in premier laboratories in governments or top universities, are built for specific operational missions, lacking the needed flexibility.

mu-Net uses a service-oriented, non-hierarchical software architecture, with a goal to support integrated sensing, communications, and navigation. The infrastructure is designed to break down several barriers that are the root causes of the slow progress and low participation of mobile underwater sensor network research. First, it breaks down the cost and effort barriers, meaning that it supports low-cost laboratory tests and field validation. Second, it breaks down the interface barrier, supporting two main autonomy software suites (ROS and MOOS) and different hardware instruments. Third, it breaks down the networking-robotics disciplinary barrier and promotes the marriage between the two fields.

The mu-Net infrastructure project is supported by the Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Community Research Infrastructure (CCRI) program at the National Science Foundation (NSF). Please visit the CCRI Virtual Organization for the full list of CCRI infrastructures.