- Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV)
- Underwater sensing & perception
- Seabed Mapping
- Marine animal tracking robot
- Robot system for NPP
- Mapping and localization in an unstructured environment
- Wave energy harvesting vehicle
Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV)
Underwater is one of the hazardous environments, and GPS and RF do not work. AUV is an underwater robot, which enables precise 3-D position control in the water by using multiple propellers. It is equipped with various measurement sensors and navigation sensors such as high-resolution still camera, lighting system, acoustic camera, laser, and chemical sensor, so it can respond to various missions. It can be used for underwater precision tasks such as underwater environment and ecological investigation, safety inspection of underwater structures.
3-D Mapping and Localization with Limited Visibility
In extreme environments with limited visibility, optical sensors have limited performance. The acoustic sensors can be one of the alternatives to the optical sensors in a low-visibility environment. However, the acoustic sensors have poor SNR characteristics, low-resolution problems, and loss of height information.Therefore, a proper signal processing technique is required. This research is a 3-D seafloor scanning method using multibeam sonar. It provides a unique analysis of sonar image geometry for extracting missing elevation information and can be continuously executed regardless of the existence of features.
Robust Perception Using Artificial Intelligence
Robots in hazardous robots use optical or acoustic sensors to sense the surrounding environment. In a hazardous environment, there is no light source such as the sun, and light is severely attenuated and scattered by fog, dust, and water. Therefore, optical sensors have limited views. On the other hand, acoustic sensors are independent of visibility but have a limitation of low resolution and noise-to-signal ratio. To recognize the surrounding environment robustly and perform precise missions in harsh conditions, various artificial intelligence-based perception algorithms such as target object recognition, image enhancement, and opti-acoustic fusion are required.
Building a Pioneering Robotic System in Harsh Environments
We design and construct robotic systems in harsh environments where humans cannot reach. From underwater to aerial, we build various types of robots to achieve the mission goal. One of them is NPP’s dome inspection robot. The dome inspection robot consists of three robots: a Wall-climbing agent, a lifting drone, and a multi-purpose amphibious vehicle. From the amphibious vehicle, the lifting drone makes the wall-climbing agent attached to the ceiling of the dome, and then the agent inspects the holes and cracks on the ceiling. We are engaged in interdisciplinary research beyond the limit of the conventional techniques and pursue building pioneering robot systems in hazardous and extreme robotics.