Underwater 3D Mapping and Pose Estimation for ROV Operations

Teleoperating Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) underwater is a challenging and tedious task as the operators are physically removed from the sites and their situational awareness is low due to restricted camera views, poor visibility under water, and limited three dimensional perception. This paper describes three vision system technologies, developed originally for space applications, which will enable more efficient ROV operations. Automatic detection and tracking of artificial and natural targets will enable autonomous ROV station-keeping (mooring) allowing the operators to focus on their main tasks. The 3D modeling system will create instantly models of underwater worksites and seafloor increasing thus operatorsí spatial perception and allowing measurements and precise manipulation tasks. Initial results of underwater experiments are presented.