The accuracy of bathymetric maps, especially in the coastal zone, is very important from the point of view of safety of navigation and transport. Due to the continuous change in shape of the seabed, these maps are fast becoming outdated for precise navigation. Therefore, it is necessary to perform periodical bathymetric measurements to keep them updated on a current basis. At present, none of the institutions in Poland (maritime offices, Hydrographic Office of the Polish Navy) which are responsible for implementation of this type of measurements has at their disposal a hydrographic vessel capable of carrying out measurements for shallow waters (at depths below 1 m). This results in emergence of large areas for which no measurement data have been obtained and, consequently, the maps in the coastal zones are rather unreliable.
The article presents the concept of bathymetric measurements for shallow waters with the use of an autonomous, unmanned survey vessel (ASV/USV). For this purpose, the authors modernized a typical ASV/USV unit with standard radio remote control system to the fully autonomous mode. As part of the modernization, the route planning software was created. The developed software works based on, alternatively, GNSS measurements of the coastline, or satellite images. The system was supplemented by an own autopilot (adapted for flying drones). Moreover, the method of controlling electric motors was changed thanks to the use of own electronic circuit.
The modernized ASV/USV measuring system was verified by performing bathymetric measurements of the retention reservoir in Gdansk, Poland. Then, the obtained measurement data were used to create a digital bottom model and a bathymetric map of the reservoir.