[robotics-worldwide] 3 open PhD Positions - Underwater Robotics - University of Girona, Spain

Marc Carreras marc.carreras at udg.edu
Thu Nov 19 05:04:22 PST 2009


OPEN POSITIONS FOR PHD STUDENTS IN THE FIELD OF UNDERWATER ROBOTICS
=====================================================================

The underwater robotics lab (CIRS) of the Computer Vision and Robotics  
Research Group (VICOROB) at the university of Girona (Spain)  is  
looking for PhD student candidates with excellent academic grades  
interested in pursuing its PhD. degree in the context of an European  
project about marine robotics. The project consortium is integrated by  
8 partners from 4 European states (Spain, UK, Portugal and Italy).  
Three vacancies are offered in the areas of SLAM, cooperative  
navigation and intelligent control architectures. The details follow.

How to apply
==========
Deadline for application : November 30, 2009

e-mail: pere at eia.udg.es; +34 972 419871 (vacancies 1 & 2)
               marc.carreras at udg.edu ; +34 972 418879 (Vacancy 3)

If interested, please SEND AN EMAIL ASAP, and send the following  
documentation by November 30:
1- C.V.
2- Motivation letter (career plan, motivation for PhD, statement of
research interest)
3- Copy of original study certificates with list of subjects, grades,  
and
scale (indicate min, max, and pass threshold for your class) for Master
degree, Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, Robotics,  
Mechatronics, Mathematics, Physics or similar.
4- Copy of international publications, if available (max 3).

Project details
===========
Project Number: FP7 STREP Project number 248497
Project Title:	TRIDENT: Marine Robots and Dexterous Manipulation for  
Enabling Autonomous Underwater Multipurpose Intervention Missions.

Abstract
=======	
TRIDENT proposes a new methodology for multipurpose underwater  
intervention tasks with diverse potential applications like underwater  
archaeology, oceanography and offshore industries, going beyond  
present-day methods typically based on manned and / or purpose – built  
systems.
A team of two cooperative heterogeneous robots with complementary  
skills,  an Autonomous Surface Craft (ASC) and an Intervention  
Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (I-AUV) endowed with a dexterous  
manipulator, will be used to perform underwater manipulation tasks.  
The proposed methodology is based on two steps.
During the first step, the I-AUV is deployed from the ASC to perform a  
cooperative path following survey, where it gathers optical/acoustic  
data from the seafloor whilst the ASC provides geo-referenced  
navigation data as well as communication with the end user. During  
this phase of the mission the I-AUV will be doing accurate path  
following and terrain tracking, to maximize bottom coverage and data  
quality. The motion of the ASC will be coordinated with that of the I- 
AUV to achieve precise USBL (Ultra Short Base Line) positioning and  
reliable acoustic communications. After the survey, the I-AUV docks  
with the ASC and sends the data back to a ground station where a map  
is set up and a target object is identified by the end user.  At the  
second step, the ASC navigates towards a waypoint near the  
intervention area where the I-AUV is launched to search for the  
object. When the object (i.e. the target of the intervention) has been  
found, the I-AUV switches to free floating navigation mode. The  
manipulation of the object takes place through a dexterous hand  
attached to a redundant robot arm and assisted with proper perception.  
Particular emphasis will be put on the research of the vehicles  
intelligent control architecture to provide the embedded knowledge  
representation framework and the high-level reasoning agents required  
to enable a high degree of autonomy and on-board decision making of  
the platform. The new methodology will allow the user to specify an  
intervention task, among a set of predefined ones, to be undertaken  
with regards to a particular target object selected by the end user by  
means of the map previously built. Hence the intervention task is seen  
as a semi-automatic process where the target is manually selected but  
then it is automatically recognized and manipulated by the robot in a  
complete autonomous way.
The TRIDENT project brings together research skills specific to marine  
environments in navigation and mapping for underwater robotics, multi- 
sensory perception and a range of control techniques relating to  
intelligent control architectures, vehicle-manipulator systems and  
dexterous manipulation.

vacancy 1: Simultaneous Localization And Mapping (SLAM) for AUV  
navigation.
=============================================================
The main objective of this work is to investigate how to merge  
conventional DVL-FOG navigation techniques with the recent Results in  
Sonar Based Scan Matching in the context of the Simultaneous  
Localization and Mapping techniques in order to setup a consistent and  
accurate elevation map of the seafloor. Because sonar can see far  
away, it will be of interest to study how to deal with range scans  
gathered a different altitudes having then a different scale factor.  
Hierarchical map structures able to accommodate these measurements  
will be studied.

vacancy 2: Autonomous Surface Craft (ASC) – Autonomous Underwater  
Vehicle (AUV) Cooperative Navigation.
=============================================================
The main objective of this work is to investigate how to use  
cooperative navigation techniques to accurately localize one or more  
AUVs with the help of a DGPS-equipped Autonomous Surface Craft (or  
drifting buoy) being all the vehicles connected by means of low cost,  
low bandwidth acoustic modems. First the scenario of using an USBL in  
a direct configuration (transceiver mounted on the ship) will be  
explored and a solution explicitly taking into account the time delays  
due to the signal transmission will be proposed. Then the sensorial  
requirements will be relaxed exploring the possibility of localizing  
the AUV with the only help of range measurements (received for free  
with the acoustic data packets) arriving asynchronously from known  
positions (the surface craft pose). A DVL-MRU equipped AUV will be  
first considered, removing then the requirement of using a DVL.

vacancy 3: Intelligent control architecture.
=================================
This vacancy is related with work package 3, which is responsible for  
providing the embedded knowledge representation framework and the high- 
level reasoning agents required to enable autonomy and on-board  
decision making of the platform. Autonomous capabilities for  
intervention missions require heterogeneous embedded agents working in  
a dynamic operational field with hard and unpredictable environmental  
conditions. Embedded agents specialise in different disciplines  
providing different capabilities or services to the overall system,  
i.e. navigation, mapping, vision, etc. This position will be related  
with the design and implementation of a path-planning agent. The main  
goal is to develop new algorithms for adaptive waypoint-based  
trajectory planning including path following, terrain following and  
obstacle avoidance. As a secondary goal, the work will also contribute  
in the design of an adaptive goal-based mission planning agent.

Requirements:
===========
Academic: Excellent academic grades. Knowledge in robotics, video/ 
sonar image processing. Previous experience in navigation, mapping,  
SLAM techniques and/or control architectures will be appreciated. A  
Master degree in the related areas will be valuable but not imperative.

Nationality requirements: European Citizen, or European residence  
permission.
Contract Type:  Phd. Student Grant.
Position:  Phd. Student
Number of Positions:	3
Start Date: February 2010/June 2010 (approx)
Duration in months:	36/48
Salary:  As determined by regulations of the Spanish PhD Student  
Grants (around 1100€/month)
Town:	Girona
Country: Spain
Place of Work:  University of Girona (Girona-Spain)

Related links:
===========
TRIDENT project:
http://eia.udg.es/~pere/Pere_Ridao_Home_Page/Projects/Entries/2009/9/22_Marine_Robots_and_Dexterous_Manipulation_for_Enabling_Autonomous_Underwater_Multipurpose_Intervention_Missions.html

CIRS:
http://eia.udg.es/~pere/Pere_Ridao_Home_Page/CIRS.html




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