Robotic system enables symbiotic links between human diver and computer

European Union funds development of a highly cognitive underwater robotic system

A consortium of seven European partners develops a highly cognitive underwater robotic system to enable symbiotic links between a human diver and a set of companion autonomous robots to interpret and adapt the diver’s behavior and physical state. Divers often work in harsh and weakly monitored environments. Behavior scientist Karl Grammer from the Department of Anthropology of the University of Vienna leads the Austrian cooperation of the project CADDY (Cognitive Autonomous Diving Buddy) which received European commission’s funding in amount of 3.7 million EUR.

Project CADDY started on 1st of January 2014 and will last for three years. Partners involved are University of Zagreb – Faculty of Electrical Engineering from Croatia as the project coordinator, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche from Italy, Instituto Superior Technico from Portugal, Jacobs University from Germany, University of Vienna from Austria, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne from UK and Divers Alert Network Europe Foundation – DAN Europe based in Malta.

Divers (SCUBA, scientific, and technical) operate in harsh and weakly monitored environments in which the slightest unexpected disturbances, technical malfunctions, or lack of attention of a diver can result in catastrophic consequences. These issues are usually dealt by pairing up divers and adopting well defined rules for diving operations to reduce the chance of accidents. However, during more challenging dives these procedures may not be sufficient to ensure almost accident-free operations, for the divers must maneuver in complex 3D environments, carry cumbersome equipment, and focus attention on operational details. It is against this backdrop of ideas that CADDY sets forth the key goal of contributing to the development of a new breed of technological systems to monitor the behavior of human divers and assist them during the execution of demanding missions at sea. "We will develop algorithms for monitoring the internal states of the diver and the diver's behavior automatically and in real time. This work is based on our long time experience with the analysis of body motion and internal states", says Karl Grammer from the Department of Anthropology of the University of Vienna.

The final goal of the project is the development of symbiotic links between a human diver and a set of companion autonomous robots by developing a multicomponent, highly cognitive underwater robotic system capable of learning, interpreting, and adapting to the diver’s behavior and physical state.

Autonomous underwater robot communicates with autonomous surface robot
The core of the proposed envisioned concept consists of a diver, autonomous underwater robot and autonomous surface robot. A diver will interact with the companion autonomous underwater robot that will maneuver underwater in the vicinity of the diver and exhibit cognitive behavior with regard to the diver actions.  The autonomous surface vehicle that communicates with the diver and the autonomous underwater robot is a communication relay link to the command center but at the same time it also plays the key role of a navigation aid to the underwater vehicles.  It must adapt its motion so as to optimize the conditions for increased communications efficiency and navigational accuracy of the three components of the formation.

CADDY project will go beyond the state-of-the-art by introducing an underwater vehicle to assist the diver. The research regarding human-robot interaction will be enhanced though diver behavior interpretation which has not yet been addressed.

Further details:
http://www.caddy-fp7.eu
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86bTzi3Rbzo 

Scientific Contact
Ao. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Karl Grammer
Department of Anthropology
University of Vienna
1090 Vienna, Althanstraße 12-14
T +43-1-4277-547 66
karl.grammer(at)univie.ac.at
www.urbanethology.at

Press contact
Mag. Veronika Schallhart
Press Office
University of Vienna
Research and Teaching
1010 Vienna, Universitätsring 1
T +43-1-4277-175 30
M +43-664-602 77-175 30
veronika.schallhart(at)univie.ac.at

Wissenschaftlicher Kontakt

Ao. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Karl Grammer

Department für Anthropologie
Universität Wien
1090 - Wien, Althanstraße 12-14
+43-1-4277-547 66
karl.grammer@univie.ac.at

Rückfragehinweis

Mag. Veronika Schallhart

Pressebüro der Universität Wien
Forschung und Lehre
1010 - Wien, Universitätsring 1
+43-1-4277-175 30
+43-664-602 77-175 30
veronika.schallhart@univie.ac.at