Smart-E An Autonomous Omnidirectional Underwater Robot

Benjamin Meyer 1 , Kristian Ehlers 1 , Christoph Osterloh 1 , and Erik Maehle 1
  • 1 University of Luebeck, Inst. of Computer Engineering Ratzeburger Allee 160, 23562 Luebeck, Germany

Abstract

The survey of waterbodies or underwater installations is a challenging task. To reduce the danger for divers, Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) can be deployed. These requires a high manoeuvrability and agility in order to provide access in hard-to-reach areas. Smart-E is an omnidirectional AUV designed and developed at the Institute of Computer Engineering of the University of Luebeck. The drive is realized by the minimal configuration of three thrusters that are arranged at 120º to each other. To achieve omnidirectional movement in the 3D space, each motor pivots through 180º around its radial axis with the aid of a servo motor. This leads to a manoeuvrability of six degrees of freedom (DOF). Smart-E is equipped with various sensors like a pressure and temperature sensor, a 360º scanning sonar, an IMU-AHRS system and a tilt camera unit at the bottom. Besides the autonomous behaviors, the main challenge is to control all six DOF of the AUV to achieve a smooth and controllable omnidirectional underwater movement even in rough environments.

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