3D Perception and Augmented Reality Developments in Underwater Robotics for Ocean Sciences

Type Article
Date 2020
Language English
Author(s) Laranjeira-Moreira Matheus1, Arnaubec Aurelien1, Brignone Lorenzo1, Dune Claire2, Opderbecke Jan1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Underwater Systems Unit, IFREMER, Centre Méditerranée, Zone Portuaire de Brégaillon, CS20 330, 83507, La Seyne sur Mer Cedex, France
2 : Laboratoire COSMER - EA 73 98, Université de Toulon, Campus de La Garde - La Valette, Avenue de l’Université, 83130, LA GARDE, France
Source Current Robotics Reports (2662-4087) (Springer Science and Business Media LLC), 2020 , Vol. 1 , P. 123-130
DOI 10.1007/s43154-020-00014-5
Note This article belongs to the Topical Collection on Underwater Robotics
Keyword(s) Underwater robotics, 3D visual terrain model, Underwater augmented reality, Virtual reality, Operator assistance

Purpose of Review

This paper addresses the benefits and challenges of mixed reality (MR) for the exploration of deep-sea environments with remotely operated vehicles. The approach is twofold: virtual reality (VR) let the scientist explore the environment via a visual 3D model, overcoming limitations of local perception. Augmented reality (AR) concepts are designed in order to improve environment perception and interaction.

Recent Findings

The key to such concepts is the implementation of 3D visual geo-referenced terrain models from the imaging feedback gathered by the vehicle exploring its unknown surroundings. Image processing, underwater vehicle navigation, and user-friendly displays for robotic intervention are addressed in an integrated concept. A broad development programme carried out at the French Institute for Ocean Science, IFREMER, is described and illustrates technical topics and use cases.


3D perception derived from camera vision is shown to enable AR concepts that will significantly improve remote exploration and intervention in unknown natural environments. Cumulative geo-referenced 3D model building is in the process of being taken to reliable functioning in real-world underwater applications, accomplishing a milestone change in the capacity to view and understand the obscure and inaccessible deep-sea world.

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