Date of Award

Spring 2023

Project Type


Program or Major

Ocean Engineering

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

May-Win Thein

Second Advisor

Yuri Rzhanov

Third Advisor

Martin Renken


Over the past few decades the state of art of Uncrewed Underwater Vehicles (UUVs) has grown significantly, and one of the major challenges remains establishing reliable underwater communication among UUVs. This case is especially true in a multi-UUV setting where tethered communication is not an option. This research focuses on designing a cost-efficient, short distance optical communication system capable of supporting formation control of multiple UUVs. Although light attenuation underwater significantly degrades communication ranges, experimental results show that optical communication can achieve distances of almost 20 meters in clear water by utilizing a simple 10-Watt LED transmitter (with larger distances being tenable given more powerful light sources). Furthermore, a signal processing scheme and protocol is designed and tested. This scheme includes a timing sequence capable of supporting multiple UUVs, all utilizing the same transmitter wavelength and carrier frequency. This optical communication scheme is tested in air in a static three-node network. All nodes are able to send, receive and interpret digital packets at a speed of 5kbps. Although further fine-tuning of the system is required due to divergence angle limitations and timing inefficiencies, the experiments presented in this work show a successful proof-of-concept of a short distance multi-UUV optical communication system