ICRA 2016 Workshop on Marine Robot Localization and Navigation

This half-day workshop considers past, present, and future challenges for robot localization and navigation particular to marine environments.

Image courtesy of Mike Benjamin

The overall objective of the workshop is to synthesize the current state of the art in marine robot navigation and localization and to identify areas of particular promise for future research. The major challenges in marine robotics navigation and localization are: 1) The underwater environment is hard to sense (terrestrial sensing modalities that are well-explored do not fare well) 2) The underwater environment is often unstructured 3) Underwater communications is challenging - to communicate for any distance larger than 150m requires the use of acoustics which is very low bandwidth, unreliable and high latency.

The specific topics for this workshop of interest include (but are not limited to):
  • New technologies and algorithms for cheaper and/or better marine vehicle navigation,
  • Marine robot perception and mapping including simultaneous localization and mapping,
  • Cooperative localization in marine environments,
  • Marine robot belief space planning,
  • Demonstrations of advanced navigation and localization through state-of-the-art experiments.
RAS Marine TC

The theme will be explored through a combination of keynote talks from global experts and peer-reviewed submitted contributions.

May 1, 2016 Poster Abstract Submission Deadline
May 8, 2016 Notification of Poster Acceptance
May 20, 2016 (morning) Workshop (Rms. 35, 36)
Time Activity
8:00 - 8:30 Welcome Remarks
8:30 - 9:10 Stefan Williams
High-resolution marine survey: Applications in engineering science, ecology, archaeology and geology
Abstract: This talk will present insights gained from a decade of Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) operations, with a particular focus on navigation and mapping using visual and acoustic data. This work has been largely motivated by the establishment of an Australia-wide benthic observing program designed to deliver precisely navigated, time series imagery of the seafloor. This initiative makes extensive use of AUVs to collect high-resolution stereo imagery, multibeam sonar, in-situ hyperspectral and water column measurements on an annual or semi-annual basis at sites around Australia, spanning the full latitudinal range of the continent from tropical reefs in the north to temperate regions in the south. We present results of a multi-year survey of reefs impacted by a significant bleaching event, illustrating how the observations provided by the repeat surveys have allowed changes in structural complexity, mortality and growth of individual coral colonies to be tracked through time. We also demonstrate how a small AUV with minimal support infrastructure can be used to generate detailed 3D models covering over 10,000 m2 of reef crest at millimeter resolution. Finally we consider other opportunities that have arisen from this work, including multi-vehicle deployments that capitalise on the availability of ship time to simultaneously deploy multiple autonomous platforms collecting visual and water column data, archaeological work over historically significant sites and surveys of deepwater hydrothermal vent systems.
9:10 - 9:50 James Kinsey
Toward Low-Cost, Long-Duration Underwater Navigation: Recent Sensing and Algorithms Advances and Applying them to Future Ocean Missions
Abstract: Advances in sensing and state estimation have previously transformed how we operate robots in the underwater domain and enabled previously unachievable missions. For example, the emergence of Doppler Velocity Logs and Fiber-optic Gyroscopes in the late 1990s revolutionized science, military, commercial, and archaeology applications in the underwater domain. This talk builds on the spirit of these prior successes by highlighting more recent advances in underwater localization that emphasize both new sensing modalities, such as MEMS sensors and acoustic modems, and new algorithmic methods. The emphasis will be on methods that improve the localization of low-cost underwater robots, extend the endurance of deep-diving long-range AUVs, or enable us to operate in extremely remote environs (such as the Arctic Ocean).
9:50 - 10:20 Poster spotlights [all abstracts]
10:20 - 10:40 Coffee break/Poster session
10:40 - 11:00 Poster session (cont'd)
11:00 - 11:40 Rafael Garcia
Challenges for underwater perception and mapping using computer vision

Abstract:The characteristics of the underwater environment offer several challenges for using off-the-shelf computer vision, mainly due to the significant attenuation and scattering of visible light. Commonly, the underwater images acquired by a robot suffer from lack of contrast, blurring and strong moving shadows from artificial illumination. Moreover, light attenuation does not allow images to be taken from a large distance.

However, using the convenient image enhancement techniques, and under the adequate circumstances, we can successfully restore underwater images, thus enabling the possibility of using them for perception and mapping. In this talk we will see how to overcome the different problems associated to the interaction between light and water to successfully explore and map unknown areas of the seafloor.

11:40 - 12:20 Michael Kaess
Localization and Mapping in Confined Areas with a Hovering AUV
12:20 - 12:30 Award ceremony and concluding remarks

All talks include 10 minutes for questions and discussion (instead of a long discussion at the end)

James Kinsey, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Stefan Williams, Australian Centre for Field Robotics, University of Sydney

Rafael Garcia, University of Girona

Michael Kaess, Carnegie Mellon University

We are soliciting extended abstracts (1-3 pages) describing novel work in marine robotics systems. Accepted submissions will give a short spotlight talk and present their work in poster format. Submissions should be sent to icra_2016_marine_workshop@mit.edu.

We are pleased to have obtained 2 $500 (USD) poster awards: 1) The Bluefin Robotics award for best navigation poster/paper 2) The Teledyne Marine award for fielded marine system poster/paper.

Congratulations to the winners:

Teledyne Marine award for best fielded system submission:
Benedetto Allotta, Andrea Caiti, Riccardo Costanzi, Davide Fenucci, Niccolò Monni, and Alessandro Ridolfi, Multi-AUV localization and navigation exploiting acoustics

Teledyne Marine
Bluefin Robotics award for best navigation submission:
Jinkun Wang and Brendan Englot, A Processing Pipeline for Descriptive Underwater 3D Occupancy Mapping with Scanning Sonar

Bluefin Robotics

Liam Paull, MIT
Email: lpaull@csail.mit.edu

Jeff Walls, University of Michigan
Email: jmwalls@umich.edu

James Kinsey, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Email: jkinsey@whoi.edu