Development and Testing of a Dexterous Manipulation Capability for Autonomous Undersea Vehicles

TitleDevelopment and Testing of a Dexterous Manipulation Capability for Autonomous Undersea Vehicles
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsAkin DL, Dillow BE, Carignan CR
Conference NameAIAA Unmanned/Unlimited Conference
Date Published04/2009
Conference LocationSeattle, WA

SAMURAI is an electrically-driven robotic manipulator designed for autonomous sampling and recovery of specimens from the sea floor while mounted to an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV). Autonomous operation is enabled through the use of the autonomous vision system (AVATAR), which employs a pair of IEEE-1394 cameras in deep ocean housings to locate targets based on color, size and shape features. The highlevel planning program (HADES) then uses the location to command the SAMURAI manipulator to recover targets and deposit them in containers onboard the vehicle. HADES also issues commands to the AUV during sampling operations, and provides resiliency throughout operations by monitoring processor loads and all necessary programs. This paper provides an overview of the system and individual subsystems, including results of component and integrated systems testing to date. The system is scheduled for maiden sea trials on the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution's Jaguar AUV in 2009 and will begin operational use on an NSF-sponsored science cruise in summer of 2010. Current work also includes the application of this system to nondestructive inspection of undersea structures, which would provide an inexpensive alternative to hazardous human inspection activities currently used on offshore oil platforms.