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Event Summary

ICRA 2015 Workshop on
Persistent Autonomy for Aquatic Robotics: the Role of Control and Learning in Single and Multi-Robot Systems
1-Day Workshop
Seattle, WA
Saturday, May 30, 2015
WSCC 607

Web Address:

Point of Contact:

Ryan N. Smith
Fort Lewis College
Email: rnsmith _at_ fortlewis _dot_ edu

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Event Abstract

There has been a steady increase in the deployment of autonomous aquatic vehicles for applications such as hazardous waste mitigation, inspection and recovery of underwater structures, environmental monitoring, and tracking of ocean processes. These emerging applications require solving unique challenges that arise in the underwater and aquatic environments, as well as realizing a persistent presence in the environment. The lack of reliable wireless communications underwater makes remote control difficult; aquatic vehicle dynamics are tightly coupled with environmental dynamics making controls hard; and well-understood perception technologies do not always apply to the aquatic environment. These challenges, in addition to our limited understanding of the complexities of the fluidic environment, make closed-loop control, online learning, and adaptive decision making challenging at best. Such challenges are further complicated when considering long-term autonomy, a multi-robot system, or both.

Here, we unite experts in the interdisciplinary field of autonomous aquatic robotics to bridge the gap between (1) modeling and prediction for persistent, closed-loop control, (2) online learning in highly dynamic and uncertain environments, and (3) coordination of heterogeneous multi-robot teams. Specifically we highlight new work that lies at the intersection of robotics, control theory, artificial intelligence, machine learning, ocean science, long-term autonomy and transport theory.

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Intended Audience

This workshop is targeted at researchers in the general robotics communities interested in underwater, marine, riverine, and littoral robotic applications. Researchers in machine learning, artificial intelligence, and oceanography will also find the topics of interest. Specifically, we are targeting audiences in the aquatic robotics community who are interested in topics related to:

  • Robust Motion Control for AUVs/ASVs
  • Environmentally constrained Path Planning
  • Single and Multi-Agent Control
  • Modeling and Prediction of Dynamic and Uncertain Environments
  • Online Learning
  • Task Specific Control Schemes for Surveillance and Inspection of Underwater Structures
  • Distributed Control
  • Coordination of Heterogeneous Systems
  • Applications in Field Robotics
  • Cloud Robotics
  • Novel Testbeds, Actuators and Sensors
  • Interaction Control of Underwater Vehicle Manipulator Systems
  • Diagnostic techniques and fault management
  • Autonomous Discovery
  • Ontological modeling for control

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Workshop Program

09:00-09:05 Welcome
09:05-09:25 Geoff Hollinger (OSU)
Human-robot Coactive Learning for Aquatic Data Collection
09:25-09:45 Ryan Eustice (UMich)
Persistent Visual SLAM for Autonomous Underwater Hull Inspection and Monitoring
09:45-10:05 Mandar Chitre (NUS)
Bio-inspired algorithms for distributed control of small teams of low-cost aquatic robots
10:05-10:30 Coffee Break
10:30-12:00 Government Panel Discussion
12:00-12:45 Poster Spotlights
12:45-13:45 Lunch Break
13:45-14:20 Poster Session
14:20-14:40 Filippo Arrichiello (U of Cassino)
Past and future research activity on control of single and multiple marine robots at ISME
14:40-15:00 Matthew Dunbabin (QUT)
Environmentally constrained path planning: from AUVs to a novel ASV test-bed
15:00-15:30 Coffee Break
15:30-15:50 Maurelli (Heroit-Watt)/Kyriakopoulos (NTUA)
The challenges of the PANDORA project
15:50-16:10 Giuseppe Casalino (U of Genoa)
Toward Underwater Cooperative Manipulation with Limited Data Exchange
16:10-16:30 Fumin Zhang (GATech)
Controlled Lagrangian Prediction Theory
16:30-17:00 Open Panel Discussion Conducted by the Workshop Organizers
17:00 Adjourn

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Invited Speakers

Filippo Arrichiello, Univ. Cassino, Confirmed
Giuseppe Casalino, University of Genoa, Confirmed
Mandar Chitre, National Univ. Singapore, Confirmed
Matthew Dunbabain, QUT, Confirmed
Ryan Eustice, University of Michigan, Confirmed
Geoff Hollinger, Oregon State University, Confirmed
Kostas J. Kyriakopoulos, NTUA, Confirmed
Francesco Maurelli, Heriot-Watt University, Confirmed
Fumin Zhang, GA Tech, Confirmed

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List of Panel Speakers

Marc Steinberg, ONR, Confirmed
Richard Voyles, OSTP, Confirmed
Cecile Huet, PhD, Unit Robotics - A2, EU Commission, Confirmed

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The proposed workshop will build upon significant progress made at ICRA 2014 (Persistent Autonomy for Marine Robotics) and RSS 2014 ("Autonomous Learning and Control for Underwater Vehicles" & "Robotic Monitoring") workshops run by the co-organizers, and extend the scope to include a combined focus on persistent autonomy and multi-robot systems. We additionally propose to extend the reach of previous workshops at RSS (2011, 2012, 2013), IROS (2011, 2012) on Robotics for Environmental Monitoring, and ICRA (2012, 2013) on Many Robot Systems: Crossing the Reality Gap ICRA (2012, 2014, 2014) that were all run and/or attended by all of the co-organizers. Through this workshop series we have noticed a recurring need in the community for a dissemination and discussion venue focused primarily on the control and autonomy of aquatic vehicles and vehicles operating in communication and localization-limited environments. The robotics for environmental monitoring community addresses a broad range of application-driven problems, however many researchers face the fundamental problems of navigation, communication and data acquisition; this is the primary focus of the proposed workshop.

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Participation Plan

The Marine Robotic community is an increasing niche in the general RAS environment. With a specific Technical Committee and dedicated mailing list, it reaches out a good portion of researchers working in the field. The TC - through all its information channels, including mailing list, website, social pages) will play an active role in soliciting active participation in the workshop. The Technical Committee on Robot Learning, as co-organiser of the event, will also help in solicit participation through its usual communication channels.

A website will be made available for public outreach, where all accepted papers and later presentations will be uploaded. A news item about the workshop will appear in all websites of the organisers, pointing to the workshop website.

Additional Dissemination for CFPs:
  • Post announcement on robotics-worldwide mailing list
  • Email the Google list associated with the IEEE RAS Marine Robotics, Robot Learning and Multi-Robot Systems technical committee
  • Send personal email solicitation to colleagues working in areas related to the workshop
  • Post announcement to the Australian Robotics and Automation Association mailing list
  • Post announcement to the Euron mailing list

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Plan to Encourage Interaction

This proposed workshop will be a full day workshop consisting of a combination of invited keynote talks, oral and/or poster presentations, and two panel discussions. Invited speakers will include leading academic and government representatives and experts in the various areas of underwater robotic systems. The organizers intend to provide a mix of early, mid and senior-career individuals to represent the invited speakers, enabling attendees to get depth and breadth of the topic areas represented. We will also solicit submissions in the form of extended abstracts (2 pages) to select additional attendees for a poster session. Based on past experiences, if the venue and logistic conditions will allow, we plan to have an extended lunch break, and organise a meal service in conjunction with this poster session. We are also in communication to host a joint poster session with the organisers of the proposed workshop on long-term Autonomy to encourage more collaboration and interaction.

The workshop will include two panel discussions on key technical challenges and important areas of interesting and emerging research. The government panel held at the preceding workshop at RSS 2014 was a huge success, drawing more than 40 attendees for a lengthy (>1.5 hours) discussion that continued throughout the lunch break. We intend to build on this momentum by holding another government panel that will specifically address specific questions raised at the workshop in July 2014 that were of significant interest to the community. The open panel discussion will plan to examine open questions and next steps in research directions based on the information discussed in the government panel specifically related to areas of interest by the Office of Naval Research and NSF, along with program funding opportunities for innovative research and new ideas aligned with the topics of the workshop.

The collaborations developed in this workshop will lead to improvements in control, learning, and adaptation for underwater systems that are paramount to achieving prolonged persistent autonomy in these environments.

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Event Organizers

Francesco Maurelli and David Lane
Ocean Systems Laboratory
Heriot-Watt University
Email: {f _dot_ maurelli; d _dot_ m.lane} _at_ hw _dot_ ac _dot_ uk

Ryan N. Smith (Contact)
Fort Lewis College
Email: rnsmith _at_ fortlewis _dot_ edu

Geoff Hollinger
Oregon State University
Email: geoff _dot_ hollinger _at_ oregonstate _dot_ edu

M. Ani Hsieh
Drexel University
Email: mhsieh1 _at_ drexel _dot_ edu

Lino Marques
University of Coimbra
Email: lino _at_ isr _dot_ uc _dot_ pt

Kostas J. Kyriakopoulos
National Technical University of Athens
Email: kkyria _at_ mail _dot_ ntua _dot_ gr

Marc Carreras
Universitat de Girona, Edifici PIV
Email: marc _dot_ carreras _at_ udg _dot_ edu

Petar Kormushev
Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia
Email: petar _dot_ kormushev _at_ iit _dot_ it

Maria Fox
Kings College London
Email: maria _dot_ fox _at_ kcl _dot_ ac _dot_ uk

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