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Visual inspection of sea bottom structures by an autonomous underwater vehicle

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1 Author(s)
G. L. Foresti ; Dept. of Math. & Comput. Sci., Udine Univ., Italy

This paper describes a vision-based system for inspections of underwater structures, e.g., pipelines, cables, etc., by an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV). Usually underwater inspections are performed by remote operated vehicles (ROVs) driven by human operators placed in a support vessel. However, this task is often challenging, especially in conditions of poor visibility or in presence of strong currents. The system proposed allows the AUV to accomplish the task in autonomy. Moreover, the use of a three-dimensional (3-D) model of the environment and of an extended Kalman filter (EKF) allows the guidance and the control of the vehicle in real time. Experiments done on real underwater images have demonstrated the validity of the proposed method and its efficiency in the case of critical and complex situations

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part B (Cybernetics)  (Volume:31 ,  Issue: 5 )