Current projects


Past projects




ROV enhancements

Precision control technologies for ROVs and intervention AUVs
Project Manager: Steve Rock
Lead Scientist: Bruce Robison
Lead Engineer: Rob McEwen

We propose a new three-year project that will build upon and extend our work in autonomous control of both remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). Our main, near-term focus will continue to be the development and exploitation of vision-based sensing to enable autonomous/automatic vehicle control. This work is part of a joint research activity between Stanford University’s Aerospace Robotics Laboratory and MBARI that is focused on exploring high-risk high-payoff technologies that will enable a "spectrum of autonomy" in unmanned underwater vehicle control. Under this program, we are exploring novel concepts for pilot aids for ROV operation as well as a range of technologies for future AUV applications, including intervention-capable AUVs.

In previous years, we have made significant progress in creating and demonstrating new technology that proves the feasibility and utility of automated modes for benthic and midwater station-keeping and mosaicking tasks. Some of these capabilities (in particular, benthic station-keeping) have progressed to the point that they are now ready for full integration into the ROVs Ventana and Tiburon. Other capabilities (e.g. benthic mosaicking and jelly-tracking) have been proven to be feasible and highly useful, but require various amounts of research and development to make them sufficiently robust for full scale integration.

In this three-year proposed period, we plan to complete the full-scale integration of those capabilities that have been proven to be both useful and ready, and to continue the development of new capabilities. In particular, we propose to extend the work performed previously (1) to create a robust, turn-key pilot aid for ROV benthic station-keeping and mosaicking that is fully integrated into the hardware and software environments of Ventana and Tiburon; (2) to enable new capabilities in pilot aids for ROV jelly tracking; and (3) to enable a new AUV capable of tracking gelatinous marine animals for long periods of time (e.g. days).