Underwater Intelligent Operation and Navigation

UNION - 8972

Work Area: Theories and Models for the Design of Heterogeneous Systems

Keywords subsea robotics, autonomous underwater vehicles, sensor fusion, mission programming, teleprogramming, human-machine interfaces, high-level control

Start Date: to be announced / Status: starting

[ participants / contact ]

Abstract UNION aims to develop methods for increasing the autonomy and intelligence of unmanned intervention systems, focusing on the integration of heterogeneous and disparate processing, actuation and sensing susbsystems, and taking as an example real underwater vehicles with associated manipulation tools and dedicated missions.


To achieve greater autonomy many robotics systems designed for complex and hostile surroundings require the integration of disparate subsystems, such as locomotion systems, manipulation sets and a wide range of sensors.

Underwater technology is a framework within which one can explore the best way to integrate disparate and heterogeneous sensing and acting sub-systems in order to perform autonomous intelligent operation and navigation tasks. UNION aims to build coordinated control strategies for heterogeneous vehicle-manipulators systems, to integrate data from different sensors, and to study man-machine interface and programming tools to manage a mission and all the systems involved in it.

Approach and Methods

On the one hand, previous European projects (Eureka 191.MAZSTI 900030, MAST2, 920021 and 920028) led to the feasibility for autonomous underwater vehicle development from global architectural point of view, with partial validation on an experimental demonstrator. On the other, research into the information and signal processing aspects, and control schemes for autonomous ground vehicles is much more mature with theoretical and methodogical approaches implemented on numerous laboratory prototypes (PANORAMA, MARIE CIN, FIRST, INSIGHT, ERS's, ESPRIT II). The approach and methods used in UNION consist in a merge of research in ground robot control, programming, navigation, perception and manipulation, with operational subsea technology. It aims to build a coherent framework for theoretical and methodological control and perception functions design.


The knowledge gained from these studies will provide new insights into theories and models for the design of heterogeneous underwater systems, including different kinds of sensors and actuators with complex autonomous or teleprogrammed missions.


Subsea Robotics Laboratory
Zone Portuaire de Bregailon
F- 83507 La Seune sur Mer Cedex


University of München - D
University of Barcelona - E
INRIA, Sophia Antipolis - F
CNRS-LIRMM, Montpellier - F
Heriot-Watt University - UK
University of Oxford - UK


Dr. V. Rigaud
tel +33/94 304893
fax +94 878307

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UNION - 8972, August 1994

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html version of synopsis by Nick Cook