Project name: Submarine Cultures Perform Long-Term Robotic Exploration of Unconventional Environmental Niches
Project acronym: subCULTron
Dates: 01.04.2015 - 30.04.2019
Total budget: 3 987 651 EUR
Funding: EU Horizon 2020, FET Proactive
Grant Agreement number: 640967

subCULTron aims for achieving long-term autonomy in a learning, self-regulating, self-sustaining underwater society/culture of robots in a high-impact application area: Venice, Italy.

One of the envisioned goals of the subCULTron project is to develop an underwater multi-robot system for intelligent long-term monitoring of underwater ecosystems. The underwater system is comprised of 3 different types of robots. Artificial mussels (aMussels) are sensor hubs attached to the sea-ground, which monitor the natural habitat, including biological agents like algae, bacterial incrustation, and fish. They serve as the collective long-term memory of the system, allowing information to persist beyond the runtime of other agents, enabling the system to continue developing from previously learned states. On the water surface, artificial lily pads (aPads) interface with the human society, delivering energy and information influx from ship traffic or satellite data. Between those two layers, artificial fish (aFish) move, monitor and explore the environment and exchange information with aMussels and aPads.







This project is developed by:

  1. University of Graz – Artificial Life Lab (AT)
  2. Université Libre de Bruxelles (BE)
  3. CYBERTRONICA RESEARCH - Research Center of Advanced Robotics and Environmental Science (CH)
  4. ARMINES: Co-leader of Artificial systems and Bioinspired behaviours (FR)
  5. SSSA Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (IT)
  6. UNIZG-FER University of Zagreb Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing (HR)
  7. CORILA: Consortium for coordination of research activities concerning the Venice lagoon system (IT)


LARICS at ICRA2019 in Montreal

On 20-24 May 2019, the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2019) was held in Montreal, Canada, and three of our Lab's members took part in it. Prof. Stjepan Bogdan went to the conference to take part in the workshop titled "The Future of Aerial Robotics: Challenges and Opportunities" as a speaker on the topic of “Full Autonomy in Aerial Manipulation”, while Barbara Arbanas and Goran Vasiljević presented their work and the results of the subCULTron project within the Marine Robotics section of the event. Take a look at a couple photos from the event in the detailed news!    

Author: Anamarija Miličević
subCULTron field experiments

Members of LABUST and LARICS working on the subCULTron project used a sunny day in Zagreb to conduct field experiments with the aPads and aMussels. They went to the lake Jarun and tested the robots in a realistic environment, all in preparation for an upcoming anoxia workshop, which will be held in the Venice Lagoon in July of 2019. Take a look at a couple of pictures from lake Jarun!

Author: Anamarija Miličević
Anja Babić took part in the PhD Day...

On 16 APril 2019, the fourth PhD Day was held at our Faculty, where LABUST team member and third-year doctoral student Anja Babić took part in the poster section of the event and presented her PhD thesis titled "A hyper-heuristic approach to achieving long-term autonomy in a heterogeneous swarm of marine robots," along with the current results of the research done during her PhD studies. This poster was recognized and awarded as one of three particularly successful posters of the PhD Day poster section. We would like to congratulate Anja on the award and her research so far, and wish her success in her future work!

Author: Anamarija Miličević
subCULTron - a H2020 success story

The Croatian Agency for Mobility and EU Programmes (Agencija za mobilnost i programe Europske unije) has published a brochure titled Horizon 2020 Success Stories in Croatia, which features one of our H2020 projects - subCULTron! We are proud to have taken part in this successful project and we invite you to take a look at the brochure and read about subCULTron, as well as other stories about successful projects in our country.

Author: Anamarija Miličević

FER Day was held at XV. gymnasium (MIOC) in Zagreb on March 2nd to introduce the school’s students to activities and laboratories at FER. LARICS was presented with a booth where we had a NAO robot performing its usual dance routine and waving the audience, and a Pioneer demonstrating its SLAM abilities to the students. Our colleagues from LABUST presented the subCULTron project with an aPad and two aMussels, bringing attention to another aspect of robotics.

Author: Alan Vukić
subCULTron at Breaking the Surface 2017

At this year’s Breaking the Surface (BtS) workshop LARICS and LABUST researchers demonstrated the functionality of the underwater heterogeneous swarm developed within the project subCULTron. This demonstration gained a lot of attention, and we got many interesting questions and ideas from attendees.

Author: Alan Vukić
subCULTron Press Event in Venice

On September 15, 2017, the subCULTron consortium jointly presented the subCULTron project as “the world's largest diving robot test” in the waters of the Venice lagoon, at the Venice Arsenal. This was the first time that journalists and the public had the opportunity to see our project in action. Journalists from all over Europe participated in the event and transmitted the news about the project. Euro news' feature on subCULTron can be found here.

Author: Alan Vukić
subCULTron Assembly Workshop

At the end of July 2017, an “Assembly Workshop” for the project subCULTron was held at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, with two laboratories from Zagreb participating – LARICS and LABUST.

Author: Alan Vukić
subCULTron “feature freeze” workshop...

LARICS and LABUST organized an H2020 project subCULTron workshop titled “stress test workshop” at UNIZG FER on 9 – 13 January 2017 with all project partners representatives. The overall goal of the workshop was to feature freeze new electronic design for the mass production of 100+ aMussel units. Extensive testing on three newly produced aMussels in the pool as well as out of it validated the design and provided us with the data to make minor adjustments before taking the next step.

Author: Alan Vukić
Winter school on AI and Robotics

Barbara Arbanas attended the “Lucia 2016 – 3nd PhD school on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics”, held in Örebro, Sweden on December 12-16, 2016. The school provided a unique training and human experience. The lecture topics covered technologies at the forefront of research in AI and in Robotics, while some of these were applied through hands-on exercises on real robots. The winter school was also an opportunity to discuss our research with top-level scholars, as well as other students, and to extend networks. Barbara also presented project subCULTron in an interactive poster session.

Author: Alan Vukić

LARICS researchers participated in interdisciplinary field workshop on maritime robotics and applications - Breaking the Surface 2016 in Biograd na Moru, Croatia. Prof. Stjepan Bogdan gave an invited lecture titled “Unmanned system for maritime security and environmental monitoring“. As a part of demonstrations, LARICS researchers participated in a presentation of two projects – subCULTron ( Tamara Petrović and Barbara Arbanas) and MORUS ( Matko Orsag and Tomislav Haus). Both presentations were well attended and researchers from all over the world expressed interest in hardware and software developed in LARICS.

Author: Alan Vukić
subCULTron review meeting

The first subCULTron review meeting was held in Zagreb, on the 28th of September. Our Prof. Bogdan and Assoc. Prof. Nikola Mišković from LABUST participated in the meeting, conducted tests and played the live demo with a team with members from LARICS, LABUST, and UNIGRAZ.

Author: Alan Vukić
subCULTron testing the first ten...

The subCULTron team had yet another successful workshop and general assembly in the first week of September 2016. This workshop was dedicated to reliability testing of the first batch of ten aMussels. The workshop was held at the Brodarski Institute, Zagreb. The main focus of this workshop was to prepare for the upcoming review and to identify possible weaknesses. Various tests, such as autonomous docking, diving, interacting with humans via SMS, twitter etc. were conducted and showed very encouraging results.

Author: Alan Vukić
LARICS featured in Jutarnji list

On May 23rd, Jutarnji list, one of the most prominent Croatian newspapers, published an article about the subCULTron project. Featured on the front page, it includes an extensive interview with our Prof. Stjepan Bogdan and Asst. Prof. Nikola Mišković from the Laboratory for Underwater Systems and Technologies, LABUST. The article provided a great visibility boost to the project and yielded many positive reactions. Other LARICS members working on the subCULTron project are Tamara Petrović, Goran Vasiljević, and Barbara Arbanas.

Author: Alan Vukić
subCULTron project “throw in”...

LARICS members Tamara Petrović, Goran Vasiljević, Stjepan Bogdan and Barbara Arbanas participated in a “throw in” workshop for the subCULTron project, which was held in Italy. The workshop consisted of two parts, aiming to integrate, assemble and test the developed hardware and software.

Author: Alan Vukić
subCULTron kicked off

The kick-off meeting of the subCULTron project, which is a part of the H2020-FET-PROACTIVE initiative, was held on 26th and 27th of May in Pontedera, Italy. Project partners from Italy, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Germany, and France gathered to share knowledge and ideas, and decide on the next actions. The project aims for achieving long-term autonomy in a learning, self-regulating, self-sustaining underwater society/culture of robots in a high-impact application area of Venice Lagoon, Italy.

Author: Alan Vukić