DEUS: Distributed, Efficient, Ubiquitous and Secure Data Delivery Using Autonomous Underwater Vehicles

Project Information

Project Summary

Ocean Big Data (OBD) is an emerging area of research that benefits ocean environmental monitoring, offshore exploration, disaster prevention, and military surveillance. It is now affordable for oil and gas companies, fishing industry, militaries, and marine researchers to deploy physical undersea sensor systems to obtain strategic advantages. However, these sensing activities are scattered, isolated, and often follow the traditional “deploy, wait, retrieve, and post-process” routine. Since transmitting information underwater remains difficult and unreliable, these sensors lack a cyber interconnection, which severely limits ocean cyber-physical systems. This project aims to providing a viable cyber interconnection scheme that enables distributed, efficient, ubiquitous, and secure (DEUS) data delivery from underwater sensors to the surface station. The proposed cyber interconnection scheme features cheap underwater sensor nodes with energy harvesting capability, a fleet of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) for information ferrying, advanced magnetic-induction (MI) antenna design using ferrite material, distributed algorithms for efficient data collection via AUVs, and secure data delivery protocols. The success of this project will help push the frontier of Internet of Things in Oceans (IoTO) and OBD, both of which will find numerous underwater applications in offshore oil spill response, fisheries management, storm preparedness, etc., which impact the economy and well-being of not only coastal regions but also inland states. The project will also provide special interdisciplinary training opportunities for both graduate and undergraduate students, particularly women and minority students, through both research work and related courses on underwater wireless communication, network security, and AUV designs.

Personnel at UH

  • Dr. Miao Pan, PI
  • Dr. Zhu Han, Co-PI
  • Dr. Aaron T. Becker, Co-PI
  • Dr. Jiefu Chen, Co-PI
  • Mr. Debing Wei, PhD Student
  • Ms. Li Yan, PhD Student
  • Mr. An Nguyen, PhD Student
  • Ms. Austin Dodge, Undergraduate Student (REU)
  • Mr. Javier Garcia, Undergraduate Student (UH Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship)
  • Mr. Steban Soto, Undergraduate Student (UH Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship)

Personnel at MST

  • Dr. Yahong Rosa Zheng, PI
  • Mr. Yiheng Wang, PhD Student


  1. D. Wei, L. Yan, X. Li, Y. Sun, D. Yuan, J. Chen, and M. Pan, “Exploiting Magnetic Field Analysis to Characterize MI Wireless Communications in Subsea Environments”, International Conference on Computing, Networking and Communications (ICNC), Maui, HI, March 5-8, 2018.
  2. A. T. Becker, M. Debboun, S. Fekete, D. Krupke, and A. Nguyen, “Towards MRI-Guided and Actuated Tetherless Milli-Robots: Preoperative Planning and Modeling of Control”, IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Vancouver, BC, Canada, September 24–28, 2017.
  3. H. Huang and Y. R. Zheng, “Localization in 3-D by Using Magnetic-Induction Communications in Near-Field”, OCEANS, Anchorage, AK, September 18-21, 2017.
    Y. Wang and W. Cai and Y. R. Zheng, “Dubins Curves for 3D Multi-Vehicle Path Planning Using Spline Interpolation”, OCEANS, Anchorage, AK, September 18-21, 2017.
  4. L. Yan, D. Wei, M. Pan, and J. Chen, “High speed borehole telemetry system using magnetic induction”, International Applied Computational Electromagnetics Society Symposium, Suzhou, Jiangsu, China, August 1-4, 2017.
  5. X. Li, Y. Sun, Y. Guo, X. Fu and M. Pan, “Dolphins First: Dolphin-Aware Communications in Multi-hop Underwater Cognitive Acoustic Networks”, IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications, Vol. 16, No. 4, pp. 2043-2056, April 2017.
  6. L. Yan, D. Wei, M. Pan, and J. Chen, “Magnetic Induction for MWD Telemetry System”, Texas Symposium on Wireless and Microwave Circuits and Systems, Waco, TX, March 30-31, 2017.

Research Activities and Student Exchanges

  • MST students exchanging at UH during the summer
  • Dr. Zheng doing MI and acoustic communication field tests at Delaware
  • Li, UH PhD student, working on ferrite assisted MI antenna lab test
  • Debing, UH PhD student, doing acoustic communication field tests in Northern Gulf of Mexico (Courtesy to Dr. Aijun Song at U of Alabama. Thank you for hosting us.)
  • UH Professors discussing ROV experiments
  • Ferrite assisted MI antenna lab test parameters and performance (in the air)
  • Debing, UH PhD student, doing field tests in Northern Gulf of Mexico (Courtesy to Dr. Aijun Song at U of Alabama. Thank you for hosting us.)
  • ROV running in the swimming pool
  • ROV ready to swim
  • UH team conducting ROV tests
  • UH PhD student operating ROV
  • Ferrite assisted MI antenna lab test setup (in water tank)
  • Lunch w MST exchanging students in Houston during the summer
  • Steban’s MI based border monitoring research was highlighted on undergraduate research day at UH