AUV-assisted surveying of relic reef sites
January 30, 2009

Authors: Williams, S.B., Pizarro, O., Johnson-Roberson, M., Mahon, I., Webster, J., Beaman, R., Bridge, T.

Year: 2009

Publication: MTS and IEEE (Editors), Oceans 2008, 15-18 September 2008. Marine Technology Society (MTS) and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE), Quebec City, Canada.


This paper describes the autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) Sirius and presents its participation in a scientific expedition to survey drowned reefs along the shelf edge of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) in Queensland, Australia. The primary function of the AUV was to provide geo-referenced, high-resolution optical imagery to facilitate validation of seabed habitat characterisation based on acoustic data.

We describe the AUV capabilities and its operation in the context of the cruise objectives to document these relic reef sites. The data processing pipeline involved in generating SLAM-based navigation and large scale 3D visualizations of survey data is briefly described. We also present preliminary results illustrating the type of data products possible with our system and how these complement data gathered by other ship-borne instruments on the cruise.

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