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Proceedings Paper

A smart ROV solution for ship hull and harbor inspection
Author(s): Scott Reed; Jon Wood; Jose Vazquez; Pierre-Yves Mignotte; Benjamin Privat
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Paper Abstract

Hull and harbor infrastructure inspections are frequently performed manually and involve quite a bit of risk and human and monetary resources. In any kind of threat and resource constrained environment, this involves unacceptable levels of risk and cost. Modern Remotely Operated Vehicles are highly refined machines that provide features and capabilities previously unavailable. Operations once carried out by divers can now be carried out more quickly, efficiently and safely by smart enabled ROVs. ROVs are rapidly deployable and capable of continuous, reliable operations in adverse conditions. They also provide a stable platform on which multiple sensors may be mounted and utilized to meet the harbor inspection problem. Automated Control software provides ROV's and their pilots with the capability to inspect complex, constrained environments such as those found in a harbor region. This application and the user interface allow the ROV to automatically conduct complex maneuvers relative to the area being inspected and relieves the training requirements and work load for the pilot, allowing he or she to focus on the primary task of survey, inspection and looking for possible threats (such as IEDs, Limpet Mines, signs of sabotage, etc). Real-time sensor processing tools can be integrated into the smart ROV solution to assist the operator. Automatic Target Recognition (ATR) algorithms are used to search through the sensor data collected by the ROV in real time. These algorithms provide immediate feedback on possible threats and notify the operator of regions that may require manual verification. Sensor data (sonar or video) is also mosaiced, providing the operator with real-time situational awareness and a coverage map of the hull or seafloor. Detected objects may also be placed in the context of the large scale characteristics of the hull (or bottom or pilings) and localized. Within the complex areas such as the harbor pier pilings and the running gear of the ship, real-time 3D reconstruction techniques may be used to process profiling sonar data for similar applications. An observation class ROV equipped with sensors, running an operator in the loop, Automated Surface-Computer (ASC) system can inspect an entire harbor region. These systems can autonomously provide coverage information, identify possible threats and provide the level of control required to operate in confined environments. The system may be controlled autonomously or by the operator. Previous inspection results may also be used for change detection applications. This paper presents the SeeByte Smart ROV and sensor processing technology relevant to the harbor inspection problem. These technologies have been tested extensively in real world applications and trials and are demonstrated using real data and examples.

Paper Details

Date Published: 5 May 2010
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7666, Sensors, and Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I) Technologies for Homeland Security and Homeland Defense IX, 76662G (5 May 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.852603
Show Author Affiliations
Scott Reed, SeeByte Ltd. (United Kingdom)
Jon Wood, SeeByte Ltd. (United Kingdom)
Jose Vazquez, SeeByte Ltd. (United Kingdom)
Pierre-Yves Mignotte, SeeByte Ltd. (United Kingdom)
Benjamin Privat, SeeByte Ltd. (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7666:
Sensors, and Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I) Technologies for Homeland Security and Homeland Defense IX
Edward M. Carapezza, Editor(s)

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