AI the Outlook in Marine Technology

Source: Jan Albiez, DFKI GmbH
Source: Jan Albiez, DFKI GmbH
Scientific Leader:
Project leader:
Dr.-Ing. Jan Albiez
Contact person:

The µAUV at DFKI is at the moment the smallest autonomous AUV in the world. It was build for a demonstration at the CeBIT 2007.

Duration: 01.03.2006 till 27.05.2007
Donee: German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence GmbH
Application Field: Underwater Robotics
Related Projects: µAUV²
(05.2007- 11.2007)
Related Robots: µAUV

Project details

Autonomous Underwater Vehicles for Exploration in Deep Sea

Exploration of the world's oceans and the ocean floor has barely scratched the surface. One explanation for this are the harsh conditions encountered by scientific instruments when deployed into the depths of the sea. The extreme pressures, the total darkness, the need to communicate via broad band (possible only over cable), and the high logistical costs all complicate the deep-sea use of technical systems.

However, over the past few years the use of ROVs (Remotely Operated Vehicles) has become quite common for the purpose of deep-sea research and exploration. Most ROVs still require a cable link to the surface ship and are usually controlled by multiple operators. Autonomous systems (AUVs ? Autonomous Underwater Vehicles) are not so common and until now, such vehicles have seen only limited use in the area of surveying and measurement tasks.

However only with advances in autonomous underwater systems and the associated reduction in the burden on human operators will it be possible to some day work efficiently in the deepest ocean. The aim of the current research projects is to develop the technology to build and maintain entire production centers on the ocean floor with semi-autonomous robot systems.

DFKI Labs has developed the µAUV, a system for evaluating behavior-based controls for autonomous underwater vehicles under conditions that approximate those found at the ocean depths. The µAUV has four active degrees of freedom that allow freedom of movement in all directions. It can recognize underwater obstacles and signal sources through the use of light sensors and LEDs. The combination of light sources and sensors must be controlled just as the underwater acoustic sensors used in undersea research today and, in this way, can be seen as equivalent from a behavior control perspective. The pressure hull of the µAUV has a length of 12 cm and a diameter of 5.5 cm making it the smallest, fully autonomous AUV in the world.

The µAUV is one of several activities at DFKI in the area of underwater robotics. The development of robust underwater image processing methods, the design of autonomous manipulators and alternative propulsion concepts, such as undulating and oscillating motors, are just a few of the other projects currently underway. As a research center, Bremen offers underwater robotics the optimal connection to industry and research communities in the area of marine technologies.


µAUV²: Erste Unterwassertests

Erste Unterwassertests des µAUV²

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