Localization and mapping in confined underwater environments

The Dagon-AUV in a test basin. (Source: DFKI GmbH)
The Dagon-AUV in a test basin. (Source: DFKI GmbH)
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The aim of the CUSLAM project is the development of an algorithm which allows localization and mapping in complex, spatially confined underwater environments. This algorithm enables even small, weakly instrumented vehicles to act and fulfill meaningful tasks in difficult terrain (e.g. underwater production/processing plants). During extensive experiments the results are compared to reference measurements, in order to objectively verify the correctness of the algorithm.

Duration: 01.09.2009 till 31.07.2012
Donee: German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence GmbH
Sponsor: Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology
Grant number: This project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) according to a resolution of the German Bundestag, grant no. 03SX290.
Application Field: Underwater Robotics
Related Projects: µAUV
AI the Outlook in Marine Technology (03.2006- 05.2007)
(05.2007- 11.2007)
Autonomous Hovering Using an ROV (11.2006- 08.2007)
Virtual Immersion for holistic feedback control of semi-autonomous robots (01.2008- 12.2010)
Related Robots: Flatfish
Subsea-resident AUV
Exploration AUV for long-distance-missions
Teredo IceShuttle
Through-Ice-Cap Transfer-Vehicle & Base Station
Autonomous Vehicle for Aquatic Learning, Operation and Navigation
Related Software: MARS
Machina Arte Robotum Simulans

Project details

Final AVALON redesign, bottom view (Source: DFKI GmbH)
The boat used for outdoor testing, the RV ‚Polarsternchen‘ (Source: DFKI GmbH)

The aim of the CUSLAM project is the development of an algorithm which allows localization and mapping in complex, spatially confined underwater environments. This algorithms is supposed to allow deployment of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) in complex underwater environments, such as underwater production/processing plants, in a safe and reliable manner. The aspects safety and robustness play a key role: only when both aspects can be fulfilled, the use of AUVs for supervision and exploration tasks becomes economically feasible. The high degree of difficulty results from the combination of a number of already hard single tasks:

  • Underwater navigation, localization and mapping
  • Navigation in confined, dynamic 3d-spaces
  • Complex task completion by weakly supervised autonomous systems.

The CUSLAM-algorithm approaches the demands of each individual task in such a way that the final algorithm will master the complete task: the robust, autonomous localization and mapping in spatially confined underwater environments.

In order to prove the reliability, validity and robustness of the developed algorithm extensive experiments will be conducted. The complexity of these experiments will be increased incrementally: in the beginning only singular tasks will be fulfilled in laboratory environments, but in the end the complete task will be mastered under realistic conditions at the artificial reef of the University of Rostock.

All experiments will be conducted using the AUV 'AVALON', developed by the DFKI. This AUV will be equipped with a number of special high-resolution measurement devices, which allow a validation of the CUSLAM-algorithms results. In order to achieve this, the measurements of these new sensors will not be given to the algorithm; they will only be used for validation purposes. This results in an algorithm which does not rely on specialized measurement equipment, and thus makes adaptation to small, weakly instrumented but economically feasible AUVs possible. The robust localization and mapping inside an underwater production/processing plant is meant as benchmark for the algorithm’s performance. The artificial reef of the University of Rostock in the Baltic Sea will serve as approximation to this scenario. Since this task can be considered significantly more complex than localization and mapping over free terrain, the algorithm will automatically be able to handle this scenario as well.


DAGON: Unter dem Eis

Das AUV Dagon im Unisee unter einer Eisdecke.

DAGON: Pipeline Inspektion

Dagon bei der Inspektion von Kühlwasserleitungen (Durchmesser: 3,5m) am neuen Kohlekraftwerk in Wilhelmshaven.

DAGON: Im Unterwasserlabor

Experimente zur Beweglichkeit und Steuerung im Glasbecken des DFKI mit dem voll-integrierten AUV Dagon.

DAGON: Im Unisee

AUV-Dagon trainiert in einem Binnengewässer bei trüber Sicht.






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