Improvement of drone-diver interactions.

Bilal GHADER (Dec. 2020)

Funding: Régioh PACA / Notiloplus Company


Vincent HUGEL, University Professor (director),
Eric Watelain, Assistant professor, HDR, IAPS University of Toulon (co-director),
Claire DUNE, Assistant Professor at the University of Toulon (co-supervisor),
Jérémy Nicola, Researcher/Engineer, Notilo Plus (co-supervisor),

Following the footsteps of their aerial counterparts, underwater drones are now available to the general public at affordable costs. Among them, the autonomous robot IBubble of the company NOTILO PLUS has made an interesting technological breakthrough by developing a new mode of underwater teleoperation: the diver is equipped with a remote control that allows the drone to locate him and allows him to change its mode of operation during the dive. This new mode of interaction is the first step towards cooperation between the drone and the diver it follows. 

However, the interaction remains limited to a master-slave relationship reduced to the selection of a behavior among a pre-recorded list. The objective of this thesis is to develop more intuitive interaction modalities between the drone and the diver. The European FP7 project CADDY, the work of the Minnesota Interactive Robotics and Vision Laboratory group, and the ADRIATIC project have explored different modalities of communication between an underwater robot and a diver: the use of tags, immersible tablets, the understanding of the diver’s gestures with marked or instrumented gloves,….  

In this thesis, we will use recent methods of artificial intelligence to develop intuitive communication modes based on the diver’s gestures without adding hardware. 

The thesis is based on the industrial version SEASAM of the IBubble robot. It will be co-supervised by the COSMER laboratory of the University of Toulon and the company NOTILO PLUS. It is part of a transdisciplinary project, entitled DPII, which involves researchers in robotics, control theory, human and social sciences, and science and technology of physical activities and sports. 

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