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  1. This paper presents SVIn2, a novel tightly-coupled keyframe-based Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) system, which fuses Scanning Profiling Sonar, Visual, Inertial, and water-pressure information in a non-linear optimization framework for small and large scale challenging underwater environments. The developed real-time system features robust initialization, loop-closing, and relocalization capabilities, which make the system reliable in the presence of haze, blurriness, low light, and lighting variations, typically observed in underwater scenarios. Over the last decade, Visual-Inertial Odometry and SLAM systems have shown excellent performance for mobile robots in indoor and outdoor environments, but often fail underwater due to the inherent difficulties in such environments. Our approach combats the weaknesses of previous approaches by utilizing additional sensors and exploiting their complementary characteristics. In particular, we use (1) acoustic range information for improved reconstruction and localization, thanks to the reliable distance measurement; (2) depth information from water-pressure sensor for robust initialization, refining the scale, and assisting to limit the drift in the tightly-coupled integration. The developed software—made open source—has been successfully used to test and validate the proposed system in both benchmark datasets and numerous real world underwater scenarios, including datasets collected with a custom-made underwater sensor suite and an autonomous underwater vehicle Aqua2.more »SVIn2 demonstrated outstanding performance in terms of accuracy and robustness on those datasets and enabled other robotic tasks, for example, planning for underwater robots in presence of obstacles.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 13, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 4, 2023
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
  4. This paper presents a novel risk vector-based near miss prediction and obstacle avoidance method. The proposed method uses the sensor readings about the pose of the other obstacles to infer their motion model (velocity and heading) and, accordingly, adapt the risk assessment and take corrective actions if necessary. Relative vector calculations allow the method to perform in real-time. The algorithm has 1.68 times faster computation performance with less change of motion than other methods and it enables a robot to avoid 25 obstacles in a congested area. Fallback behaviors are also proposed in case of faulty sensors or situation changes. Simulation experiments with parameters inferred from experiments in the ocean with our custom-made robotic boat show the flexibility and adaptability of the proposed method to many obstacles present in the environment. Results highlight more efficient trajectories and comparable safety as other state-of-the-art methods, as well as robustness to failures.