Tuesday November 8, 2016 12:00 PM

“The Intelligent Search and Mapping of Shipwrecks in the Coastal Waters of Malta"

Speaker: Zoe Wood, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
Location: Annenberg 105
With its rich maritime history, the coastal waters of Malta contain numerous shipwrecks of archeological importance. For marine archeologists searching for undiscovered wrecks, the sheer magnitude of the search space is a major challenge. Where should the archeologist begin? Towed side scan sonar has been used to detect potential wreck sites, and more recently Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) equipped with side scan sonar have been deployed in the search for wrecks. However, the approach to determining potential wreck site areas remains largely based on labor-intensive human research into historical archives. How can robotics based software and hardware be advanced to enable efficient search and discovery of underwater archeological sites? And how might robot obtained sensor information be processed to produce 3D visualizations that effectively convey the required information to the archeological community?

This interdisciplinary project focuses on developing novel AUV planning, control, and visualization techniques that can be applied to a general class of autonomous robot exploration tasks.These techniques are being applied in actual AUV shipwreck search and mapping in coastal areas of Malta and Sicily.  We present our work on probabilistic algorithms for AUV motion planning that maximize information gain when mapping a wreck and visualization techniques that construct 3D models of wrecks and the ocean environment.  This talk presents the background and current state of this ongoing joint research project between Cal Poly, Harvey Mudd College and the University of Malta.


Series IST Lunch Bunch

Contact: Diane Goodfellow