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Paladyn, Journal of Behavioral Robotics

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Profile Following for Inspection of Underwater Structures

Enric Galceran
  • Underwater Robotics Research Center, University of Girona, Parc Científic i Tecnológic de la Universitat de Girona, Pic de Peguera, 13 17071 Girona, Catalonia, Spain
  • Email:
/ Narcís Palomeras
  • Underwater Robotics Research Center, University of Girona, Parc Científic i Tecnológic de la Universitat de Girona, Pic de Peguera, 13 17071 Girona, Catalonia, Spain
  • Email:
/ Marc Carreras
  • Underwater Robotics Research Center, University of Girona, Parc Científic i Tecnológic de la Universitat de Girona, Pic de Peguera, 13 17071 Girona, Catalonia, Spain
  • Email:
Published Online: 2013-12-27 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/pjbr-2013-0019


We present a seabed profile estimation and following method for close proximity inspection of 3D underwater structures using autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). The presented method is used to determine a path allowing the AUV to pass its sensors over all points of the target structure, which is known as coverage path planning. Our profile following method goes beyond traditional seabed following at a safe altitude and exploits hovering capabilities of recent AUV developments. A range sonar is used to incrementally construct a local probabilistic map representation of the environment and estimates of the local profile are obtained via linear regression. Two behavior-based controllers use these estimates to perform horizontal and vertical profile following. We build upon these tools to address coverage path planning for 3D underwater structures using a (potentially inaccurate) prior map and following cross-section profiles of the target structure. The feasibility of the proposed method is demonstrated using the GIRONA 500 AUV both in simulation using synthetic and real-world bathymetric data and in pool trials.

Keywords: Autonomous underwater vehicles; sensor-based planning; seabed profile following; coverage path planning; behavior-based control

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About the article

Published Online: 2013-12-27

Published in Print: 2013-12-27

Citation Information: Paladyn, Journal of Behavioral Robotics, ISSN (Print) 2081-4836, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/pjbr-2013-0019. Export Citation

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