In this work the development of an algorithm for visual underwater localization is described. It spans the complete process from the initial idea, the development of a suitable underwater vehicle for testing to the algorithm's experimental validation in real underwater environments. Besides the development and validation of the visual SLAM algorithm, the methodology for its evaluation is a key aspect of this work. The resulting SURE-SLAM algorithm uses a stereo camera system and basic vehicle sensors (AHRS, DPS) to compute a complete, error-bounded localization solution for underwater vehicles in real-time with similar quality as state-of-the-art acoustically stabilized dead-reckoning approaches. The robustness of the algorithm as well as its limitations and failure-cases are established by extensive field testing with the AUV Dagon, which was developed during this thesis as test and evaluation vehicle.
Development, Evaluation and Validation of a Stereo Camera Underwater SLAM Algorithm
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