Secure cooperation of autonomous mobile sensors using an underwater acoustic network

Sensors (Basel). 2012;12(2):1967-89. doi: 10.3390/s120201967. Epub 2012 Feb 10.


Methodologies and algorithms are presented for the secure cooperation of a team of autonomous mobile underwater sensors, connected through an acoustic communication network, within surveillance and patrolling applications. In particular, the work proposes a cooperative algorithm in which the mobile underwater sensors (installed on Autonomous Underwater Vehicles-AUVs) respond to simple local rules based on the available information to perform the mission and maintain the communication link with the network (behavioral approach). The algorithm is intrinsically robust: with loss of communication among the vehicles the coverage performance (i.e., the mission goal) is degraded but not lost. The ensuing form of graceful degradation provides also a reactive measure against Denial of Service. The cooperative algorithm relies on the fact that the available information from the other sensors, though not necessarily complete, is trustworthy. To ensure trustworthiness, a security suite has been designed, specifically oriented to the underwater scenario, and in particular with the goal of reducing the communication overhead introduced by security in terms of number and size of messages. The paper gives implementation details on the integration between the security suite and the cooperative algorithm and provides statistics on the performance of the system as collected during the UAN project sea trial held in Trondheim, Norway, in May 2011.

Keywords: Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs); acoustic communication; adaptive systems; cooperative systems; network security; security and trust; sensor networks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustics / instrumentation*
  • Computer Communication Networks / instrumentation*
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Robotics / instrumentation*
  • Security Measures*
  • Transducers*