Subsea intervention using autonomous systems
Subsea inspection of structures is now commercial and the next frontier in subsea robotics is the safe physical interactions with underwater structures. This requires the development of new control algorithms with force compliance which can take into account external disturbances. There is also a need to work across a variety of control models, from full teleoperation across high bandwidth data to shared autonomy (our goal) across low and intermittent connection to enable shore-based control of remote platforms.
Heriot-Watt is ideally placed to carry out this work as we have a Stewart platform enabling a full 6DOF simulation of an underwater vehicle (including dynamics) as well as a variety of manipulators with force feedback. We also have autonomous platforms with underwater arms. We can therefore develop the algorithms, test them in simulation, then on the Stewart platform and finally in water. This is a very attractive setup for publications. Finally, we have strong links to many industrial partners who are likely to adopt the technology quickly.
1] H. Rebecq, D. Gehrig, D. Scaramuzza, ESIM: an Open Event Camera Simulator Conference on Robot Learning (CoRL), Zurich, 2018.
 D. Gehrig, H. Rebecq, G. Gallego, D. Scaramuzza, Asynchronous, Photometric Feature Tracking using Events and Frames, European Conference on Computer Vision (ECCV), Munich, 2018.
 Y. Zhou, G. Gallego, H. Rebecq, L. Kneip, H. Li, D. Scaramuzza, Semi-Dense 3D Reconstruction with a Stereo Event Camera, European Conference on Computer Vision (ECCV), Munich, 2018.