Discovery Vision System: The Power of DDS

Written by Patricia Sestari

May 24, 2023


The future of subsea vehicle operations lies in autonomy and remote capabilities. To achieve this vision, seamless integration and effective communication between sensors are vital for real-time decision-making.  

At Voyis we recognize the challenges faced by vehicle manufacturers when integrating sensors, such as cameras, into their systems. However, Voyis has taken a proactive approach to address these challenges and is spearheading the adoption of the Data Distribution Service (DDS) standard. In this blog post, we will explore the significance of DDS and the importance of open communication with the camera for multiple data deliverable endpoints. 

The Challenges of Integration 

Integrating sensors into subsea vehicles brings forth a host of challenges for vehicle manufacturers. Each new sensor requires the implementation of a specific application protocol interface (API), necessitates the management of different data types, and imposes interface limitations. Integrators must invest time in understanding the nuances of each sensor, controlling parameters and status information, and often paying for customizations. Additionally, the diverse implementations of sensors from various suppliers further complicate the integration process, calling for a standardized solution. 

The Role of DDS 

Voyis has set out to simplify sensor integration by embracing the US Navy’s Unmanned Maritime Autonomy Architecture (UMAA) framework, which champions the use of the DDS standard. DDS presents a data-centric architecture where data becomes the primary and permanent asset. By conforming to the DDS specification, all sensors on the network establish standardized data sharing interfaces, enabling a publish-and-subscribe model. This framework revolutionizes data sharing and simplifies the integration of various sensors, including cameras. 

Open Communication with the Camera 

Voyis has introduced the Discovery camera, one of the first products fully supporting the DDS architecture, with onboard edge computing hardware. This camera facilitates open communication with multiple data deliverable endpoints, enhancing the capabilities of subsea vehicles. By connecting the Discovery camera to the network and broadcasting specific data topics, such as Video, Raw Images, Corrected Stills Images, IMU Data, and Depth Maps, any computer on the platform’s network can access the live data and control the product. 

Advantages of DDS and Open Communication: 

  1. Simplified Integration: DDS and open communication with the camera streamline the integration process for vehicle manufacturers (VM). The standardized data sharing interfaces eliminate the need for VMs to learn and adapt to the specific nuances of each sensor. This standardization minimizes the complexity associated with integrating sensors and significantly reduces software integration timelines. 
  1. Reliability and Autonomy: Autonomous systems require reliable and robust sensors. With DDS, the Discovery camera provides feedback on data acquisition status, quality, and performance. This ensures that the autonomous system can trust the information received from the camera and take appropriate actions. Furthermore, the camera’s modularized software components enable automatic recovery from issues such as power interruptions, communication slowdowns, and external noise, minimizing downtime and enhancing system reliability. 
  1. Quality of Service (QoS): DDS incorporates inherent QoS policies that guarantee data delivery within specific time and quality requirements. This empowers customers to define the system’s behavior under various conditions, such as network slowdowns. Customers can prioritize reliability, history, resource limits, and deadlines to tailor the system’s performance to their specific needs. 

Voyis understands the integration challenges faced by vehicle manufacturers in the pursuit of autonomy. By embracing the DDS standard and promoting open communication with the Discovery camera, Voyis aims to simplify sensor integration and enhance the reliability of subsea vehicle operations.  

The DDS architecture, with the publish-and-subscribe model, offers standardized data sharing interfaces, easing the burden on integrators. The Discovery camera’s support for DDS and its open communication capabilities enables seamless data exchange between multiple endpoints, empowering customers to achieve their vehicle autonomy goals with ease.  

Voyis is dedicated to driving the adoption of DDS and revolutionizing subsea vehicle operations, making autonomy a reality in the Ocean sector. With standardized integration, enhanced reliability, and improved data management, the future of subsea vehicle operations is within reach. 

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