Students and faculty at the
Envision a team of
NPS' E3 (Exploration in Extreme Environments) and
"Diver operations are inherently dangerous. Physiological effects limit dive duration and frequency and necessitate a large support crew, thereby increasing operational costs. The sensory-deprived underwater environment also makes navigation, communication and documentation challenging. A robotic diver assistant system can provide autonomous support to dive teams and has the potential to significantly enhance underwater operations," said NPS Research Associate Professor
"The E3 project is aimed at providing utility to the diver team without burdening the team with vehicle command and control, thereby augmenting the diver team and allowing more effective, efficient and safer operations," continued Du Toit. "This work seeks to go beyond co-inhabitance of man and machine - our aim is to fundamentally enable the transformative capability of robots."
NASA Sea Test Program Manager
"Our Sea Test II program is primarily an engineering and astronaut training exercise, our work at the Aquarius habitat very closely mimics the extreme environments of space," said Todd. "We have a long history of working with the
"We can closely replicate the zero gravity or micro-gravity of space in the undersea realm," continued Todd. "But this is not a simulation, the tasks we do are real and there are real consequences to making mistakes."
Those consequences, and their mitigation, are a major focus of the collaborative effort. NPS and
Pursuant to this transformation, researchers at the Aquarius Habitat explored several key unmanned systems areas of research, intelligent autonomy [of unmanned systems], multi-vehicle operations and persistence.
The first step in the E3 field trial involved deploying an NPS Remote Environmental Measuring Units (REMUS) 100 robot to map a large area of the underwater environment. The robot, utilizing NPS-developed algorithms, was tasked with not only mapping the area, but also autonomously identifying obstacles and navigation aids that can be used by divers and other robots.
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