ABSTRACT

Underwater robotic vehicles are being used for various underwater tasks to reap the richness of resources in the ocean. The development of advanced vehicle technologies is accelerated by the demand for an underwater robotic vehicle with high performance and efficient operation in terms of time and cost. Underwater robotic vehicles are the integration of various subsystems such as sensor systems, and guidance and control systems. Studies on each subsystem for the advanced vehicle technologies have been conducted by many researchers. However, it was experienced that evaluation of new technologies in the field is very difficult and expensive. An appropriate and inexpensive test platform is being designed at the University of Hawaii for the development of advanced vehicle technologies. The low-cost test platform has a 3-D graphic environment and a parallel-series control architecture, allowing independent development of subsystems and their subsequent integration. In this paper, the 3-D graphic test platform is described. An advanced control module is also discussed. Video demonstrations of our current test platform will be presented during the conference.

INTRODUCTION

Underwater robotic vehicles have been used for various tasks in the undersea environment. More than 70% of the earth is covered by the ocean. The richness of resources in the ocean enhances the use of underwater vehicles and promotes their development. Development of unmanned vehicle technologies can be phased along the line from the telepresence system to the autonomous system. Current vehicle technologies make remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) able to go down to 6,000 m depths. The contribution and impact of the successful operation ROV operations to the marine community have been great due to the ROV's durable, safe, and low-cost operations as compared to using human divers. However, current ROV technologies are relatively immature compared to land-based robotic vehicle technologies.

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