Research Topic

Developments and Trends in Underwater Vehicle Manipulator Systems

About this Research Topic

The field of Underwater Robotics can be logically subdivided into Underwater Survey Robotics (USR) and Underwater Intervention Robotics (UIR). USR is currently a well-developed research field, characterized by a noteworthy transfer toward applications, with many of them substantially well consolidated. UIR is also a well-developed research field, however, the transfers toward applications remain limited. This is despite the recent important results and the encouraging different experimentations that have been performed within various research projects

This difference could be attributed to the much higher level of complexity and variability exhibited by manipulation and transportation tasks executable within the harsh conditions posed by the underwater environment. Highly increasing levels of operational autonomy, in both short-term reactive planning and control, are generally required; especially when considering increasing intervention depths.

Different applicative examples arising from different needs should be provided in the introduction to the issue, for highlighting the above aspects.

This Research Topic considers the current stage of development, as well as the future trends, of all key technologies and related subsystems that, once specifically oriented to the underwater environment, can enable the required levels of operational autonomy to be exhibited by a single UIR agent.

We aim to explore the current and future functional and algorithmic architectures devoted to the integration of all required subsystems, and capable of allowing the required single-agent autonomy to emerge.

Finally, since single-agent autonomy will represent the basic requirement for also enabling cooperative activities among different agents, we consider current and future functional and algorithmic architectures for enabling underwater cooperation. From this, we will explore related issues such as communication and distributed localization.

This Research Topic will present the state of the art and future trends on research and innovation on Underwater Vehicle Manipulator System (UVMS) applications, including, but not limited to:

• Underwater visual sensing technology for grasping and manipulation
• Underwater force/torque and tactile sensing technologies for both hard and fine manipulation
• Underwater advanced grippers for both hard and fine manipulation
• Functional and algorithmic Control architectures for individual UVMS autonomy
• Reactive action planning and decision architectures for individual UVMS autonomy
• Multi-UVMS cooperation: functional and algorithmic distributed architectures
• Underwater Human-Robot Cooperation
• Localization and communication issues within underwater cooperative environments
• Achievements within recently developed application projects employing UVMS
• New generation UVMS

Within the contributions, architectures should be described with major emphasis on the functionalities exhibited by each building block and their relationships. The algorithmic aspects inside each building block should be presented at the sole detail level needed to clearly understand the performed functionality.


Keywords: Underwater Robotics, Underwater Vehicles, Manipulator Systems, Underwater Survey Robotics, Underwater Intervention Robotics


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The field of Underwater Robotics can be logically subdivided into Underwater Survey Robotics (USR) and Underwater Intervention Robotics (UIR). USR is currently a well-developed research field, characterized by a noteworthy transfer toward applications, with many of them substantially well consolidated. UIR is also a well-developed research field, however, the transfers toward applications remain limited. This is despite the recent important results and the encouraging different experimentations that have been performed within various research projects

This difference could be attributed to the much higher level of complexity and variability exhibited by manipulation and transportation tasks executable within the harsh conditions posed by the underwater environment. Highly increasing levels of operational autonomy, in both short-term reactive planning and control, are generally required; especially when considering increasing intervention depths.

Different applicative examples arising from different needs should be provided in the introduction to the issue, for highlighting the above aspects.

This Research Topic considers the current stage of development, as well as the future trends, of all key technologies and related subsystems that, once specifically oriented to the underwater environment, can enable the required levels of operational autonomy to be exhibited by a single UIR agent.

We aim to explore the current and future functional and algorithmic architectures devoted to the integration of all required subsystems, and capable of allowing the required single-agent autonomy to emerge.

Finally, since single-agent autonomy will represent the basic requirement for also enabling cooperative activities among different agents, we consider current and future functional and algorithmic architectures for enabling underwater cooperation. From this, we will explore related issues such as communication and distributed localization.

This Research Topic will present the state of the art and future trends on research and innovation on Underwater Vehicle Manipulator System (UVMS) applications, including, but not limited to:

• Underwater visual sensing technology for grasping and manipulation
• Underwater force/torque and tactile sensing technologies for both hard and fine manipulation
• Underwater advanced grippers for both hard and fine manipulation
• Functional and algorithmic Control architectures for individual UVMS autonomy
• Reactive action planning and decision architectures for individual UVMS autonomy
• Multi-UVMS cooperation: functional and algorithmic distributed architectures
• Underwater Human-Robot Cooperation
• Localization and communication issues within underwater cooperative environments
• Achievements within recently developed application projects employing UVMS
• New generation UVMS

Within the contributions, architectures should be described with major emphasis on the functionalities exhibited by each building block and their relationships. The algorithmic aspects inside each building block should be presented at the sole detail level needed to clearly understand the performed functionality.


Keywords: Underwater Robotics, Underwater Vehicles, Manipulator Systems, Underwater Survey Robotics, Underwater Intervention Robotics


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

15 January 2021 Abstract
07 May 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

15 January 2021 Abstract
07 May 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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