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The need of monitoring submerged structures in marine environments has been prompting the development of reliable underwater communications.

AURA is an innovative technology for operating an underwater antenna in order to improve wireless communications, especially in dynamic environments. Using a patented, automatic and frequency-tuneable technology, AURA is able to adjust its directional radiation pattern to optimise the radio signal coupling with other devices such as autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) or underwater sensors.

Challenge | Opportunity

Underwater wireless communications are currently based in acoustic, optical or radio frequency (RF) technologies. While acoustic systems have poor performance in shallow water, optical systems are very susceptible to turbidity and fouling particles, and they require line-of-sight and thus precise alignment.

RF systems have several advantages over acoustic and optical systems such as turbidity and acoustic noise immunity, non-line-of-sight operations, and high bandwidths (up to 100 Mbit/s) at a very close range. However, the radiation pattern of RF systems may be highly affected by the environmental conditions, namely salinity, thus jeopardising communications and data rate.

Developed at INESC TEC, AURA tackles this limitation of the RF systems by automatically adjusting the resonant frequency of the antenna, considering surrounding salinity and the position of the receiver device.

Main Advantages

  • Higher data rate;
  • Improved operational flexibility in both fresh and seawater.


  • Search and rescue
  • Deep sea oil exploration
  • Deep sea mining and extraction (e.g. organic and bio compounds)
  • Tourism
  • Energy production
  • Construction
  • Aquaculture

  • Technology Reference

  • Commercial Rights

  • Development Stage

    Lab prototype (TRL 3-4)
  • Further Information

    <p>US16/329,546</p> <p>EP17772769.0</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">AU2017319594</a></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">CA3033933A1</a></p> <p>JP100177426</p> <p> </p> <p> </p>
  • IPR Status

    Patent Pending
  • Licensing Availability

  • Industrial Categories

    Information and Communication
  • Tags

    Underwater communication, Antenna, Maritime networks, Rescue, Internet of things