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By Cloud Ground Control
- Clean Earth Rovers’ Robots-as-a-Service (RaaS) model necessitated a fleet management platform that can support multiple vehicles and provide a single, secure access method
- The Cloud Ground Control platform was ultimately selected for its straightforward, cloud-based command and control solution, alongside rich features including live-streamed telemetry data and cloud storage.
- Cloud Ground Control’s ease of integration and flexibility in co-developing an API to support project requirements made it an ideal choice for Clean Earth Rovers..
- Success of the partnership has taken Clean Earth Rovers’ business success to new levels, helping them to become a pioneer in ocean conservation
About Clean Earth Rovers
Committed to driving ocean impact, Clean Earth Rovers strives to create the best solutions for water pollution in all bodies of water. By providing innovative technologies for people and ecosystems most in need, Clean Earth Rovers are able to improve the quality of life for all by removing manmade pollutants from fragile environments.
The Ocean Imperative
Earth’s oceans have been subject to long-term neglect. According to UNESCO, plastic pollution alone (some 50 trillion pieces) accounts for around 80% of marine pollution. Without healthy oceans, the future of all species, both above and below the water, is very much at risk.
The outlook, however, is not all bleak. Humanity’s poor track record of ocean and waterway stewardship is widely acknowledged and change is underway. Around the world, creative thinkers and innovative designers are expediting solutions to clean up the world’s oceans
Michael Arens, co-founder and CEO of Clean Earth Rovers, is one such innovator. In 2019, Michael and his team launched Clean Earth Rovers with the goal to design, build and deploy autonomous uncrewed surface vehicles (USV) in near-shore waters to efficiently remove waterborne rubbish and debris. In 2022, they launched their USV, the Rover AVPro (hereinafter “the Rover”), which has been well received among their customers, including environmentalists, coastal businesses, tourism, fisheries, government, and civilian waterway users.
The Challenge: Monitoring and controlling fleets of ocean-cleaning robots easily, safely and efficiently
Current methods of ocean cleanup operations are expensive, often dangerous, largely manual and mostly ineffective. The Rovers are a cost-effective, safe and autonomous cleanup tool, designed to overcome these issues.
Motivated by the sheer scale of the problem and the desire to expedite ocean conservation for their diverse customer base, Clean Earth Rovers recognised they needed to integrate their Rovers with a drone fleet management platform – one that is easily accessible, simple to use, and robotic-agnostic. In addition, it needed to be flexible, leverage cellular networks, and be unrestricted by geographical location.
The Solution: Cloud Ground Control helps realise dreams of accessibility, scalability and easy operation
After much research, Michael and the team identified Cloud Ground Control (CGC) as the ideal solution. Developed by Advanced Navigation, CGC is a cloud-based command and control platform that supports multi-user and multi-vehicle operations from a remote location.
Connecting each Rover to the CGC platform was extremely easy, thanks to CGConnect, a credit-card sized plug-and-play micro-modem that operates on 4G/5G cellular networks. Using this, Clean Earth Rovers was able to link all of their Rovers to CGC, gaining direct access to CGC’s rich features, including real-time telemetry, cloud storage, video and payload data.
As CGConnect is robotic-agnostic, it provided Clean Earth Rovers with the flexibility to change telecom service providers or adopt additional hardware without having to re-engineer their solution.
The Result: A cost-effective autonomous fleet that elevates ocean cleaning
Clean Earth Rovers found that CGC delivered a cost-effective and safe solution that made cleaning the ocean and waterway much faster and simpler than previously possible.
Critically, CGC provided the missing link Clean Earth Rovers needed to optimise their solution – the capability to enable any authorised person with an Internet-connected device to remotely deploy, monitor and control multiple Rovers. This ensued a multitude of positive outcomes.
Greater transparency and situational awareness
The combined solution of the CGConnect micro-modem and CGC enabled Clean Earth Rovers’ customers to access live stream video data, and command and control their fleets from a web browser. Customers were able to log in to see through the vehicles’ camera feeds and watch multiple Rovers UAVs as they performed a mission in real-time.
“You log in from your browser. You have access to the vehicle. You can see what it’s doing. You can control it. It’s just that simple,” says Michael Arens, CEO and Founder, Clean Earth Rovers.
The CGC platform provided not only real-time monitoring, but also data analytics and automated operations management, making it easier to streamline operation and coordinate the fleet of Rovers, especially in vulnerable areas that would pose risks to humans. Altogether, this allowed operators to make more informed decisions in the midst of a disaster, whilst ensuring their own safety.
Mission planning made easier
With CGC and CGConnect, missions could be planned and monitored using the point-and-point, map-based interface. To set up a mission, users simply need to click on the map to create the coordinates of a polygon. The Rover has a GPS positioning module on-board that provides vehicle location during the mission to ensure the vehicle follows the correct path and remains within mission parameters. The positioning module connects to the CGC platform through the CGConnect modem, so operators know exactly where each River is at all times. In addition to this, CGC can also save pre-planned missions in the cloud which can be deployed at any time to any vehicle from any device.
Faster response times and better decision-making
Accessibility to real-time video and telemetry data directly translated into faster response times and better coordination and decision-making. For example, each Rover is equipped with a LiDAR scanner, used for object detection and collision avoidance. Data from the LiDAR scanner is analysed by the Rover’s control module and, in the case of a situation where the mission path is obstructed, communicates this through CGC to operators. The operator can then choose to abort the mission or assume manual control to avoid the obstacle and continue the mission. This high (and growing) level of cross-platform functionality is made possible through the CGC API that allows third-party developers such as Clean Earth Rovers to customise the overall solution as required for their individual applications.
A safe and secure process
As no further devices are required beyond a generic smartphone, tablet or computer, CGC removed the need for additional outlays. Furthermore, CGC employs military grade end-to-end encryption and security practices, safeguarding Clean Earth Rovers’ customers’ data from potential threats and security breaches.
Pioneering The Future of Ocean Cleaning
The Clean Earth Rovers team has conducted extensive tests and trials in and around marinas, port facilities, and other nearshore pollution zones along the US coastline – all of which have generated positive results.
“Our clients recognise our Rovers as a tool for saving them money, cutting down on equipment costs, cutting down on labour costs, and cutting down on their operating risks,” says Arens.
Always looking to push the boundaries, Clean Earth Rovers are actively pursuing additional use cases for their Rovers. For example, in the event of an oil spill, the Rovers can easily be equipped with oil absorbent materials, enabling them to rapidly clean large areas of water in an orchestrated manner. Other use cases include clearing dead fish and other affected marine life following an algal bloom, or removing ocean debris after a hurricane or cyclone. Additional applications include remote survey of offshore wind turbines, inspection of energy infrastructure all the way to marine life monitoring such as whale migration patterns.
It’s important to reiterate that cleanup operations require extensive coordination between numerous stakeholders on a massive scale. Resources required to respond to disasters are vast – petrol-fueled boats, crews of people, hazmat gear, PPE, costly public liability insurance and personal health cover to name a few.
The integration of CGC with the Rovers enabled better communication between operators and central command, all while dedicating fewer resources, minimising risk to first responders and lowering overall operational costs that would otherwise incur in traditional cleanup efforts. Capable of approximately 20 hours of operation while fully charged, a single Rover is able to collect roughly 40 kilograms of waste – an impressive quantity given its compact size.
Arens sums up what he sees as the future of the Clean Earth Rover concept:
“We see ourselves as becoming leaders in automation for coastal pollution and waterways management. We are confident that our robotic drone-based cleaning as a service model will prove highly beneficial for general marine cleanup, oil spill removal, remediation after harmful algae bloom, or whatever the case may be.”
Adoption of autonomous command and control technology to monitor and clean our oceans will remove plastic, rubbish, water borne oil and other chemicals that poison or kill marine wildlife. The Clean Earth Rovers initiative is one of many around the world that we truly hope will help to create clean, healthy and thriving oceans.
About Cloud Ground Control
Cloud Ground Control (CGC) is a revolutionary cloud-based drone fleet management platform that expedites multi-user, multi-vehicle and multi-domain operations.
It allows pilots and mission planners to remotely command and control a swarm of uncrewed vehicles across air, land and sea through a web-browser, stream real-time video feed and telemetry, and easily access and manage captured data.
By providing full situational awareness in unfolding events, CGC plays a vital role in search and rescue, emergency response and disaster relief operations. Continuing to expand human capabilities in diverse missions, CGC is heralding a new era of drones and robotics endeavors.
For more information visit www.CloudGroundControl.com
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