The Trident underwater robot has been able to find and retrieve independently an object in an unknown seabed facing the adverse conditions presented by the open ocean.
The I-AUV (autonomous underwater vehicle for intervention) has been successfully tested in the Port of Sóller, Mallorca.
Designed for multipurpose submarine intervention tasks like underwater archaeology, oceanography and offshore industries, the Trident I-AUV goes beyond present-day methods typically based on remote control or single-purpose systems. The robot has multitasking skills and autonomous manipulation for operations in unknown marine spaces.
According to Pedro J. Sanz, professor of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence at the Universitat Jaume I, “Trident is based on a multipurpose system that incorporates a two-stage strategy: in the first stage, the system is released into water. It builds a visual map of the seabed by scanning the area of interest where the goal of the intervention is. After this, the system rises to the surface and has to be told, before launching it back into the water system, which is the goal of the intervention and what do we want to do with it. In a second stage, the operation is executed”.
The robust and efficient control algorithms have shown that Trident I-AUV is able to overcome difficulties regardless of the adverse conditions of seabed.
The purpose of the project was originally based on exploring ways to solve the generic problem of “search and recovery” on the seabed in an autonomous way. In particular, the recovery of aircrafts black boxes, motivated, among other reasons, by the news of the tragic disappearance in the Atlantic Ocean of the Air France plane that made the Rio-Paris route in June 2009.