The ARTEMIS under-ice AUV docking system

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© 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. The ARTEMIS docking system demonstrates autonomous docking capability applicable to robotic exploration of sub-ice oceans and sub-glacial lakes on planetary bodies, as well as here on Earth. In these applications, melted or drilled vertical access shafts restrict vehicle geometry as well as the in-water infrastructure that may be deployed. The ability of the vehicle to return reliably and precisely to the access point is critical for data return, battery charging, and/or vehicle recovery. This paper presents the mechanical, sensor, and software components that make up the ARTEMIS docking system, as well as results from field deployment of the system to McMurdo Sound, Antarctica in the austral spring of 2015. The mechanical design of the system allows the vehicle to approach the dock from any direction and to pitch up after docking for recovery through a vertical access shaft. It uses only a small volume of in-water equipment and may be deployed through a narrow vertical access shaft. The software of the system reduces position estimation error with a hierarchical combination of dead reckoning, acoustic aiding, and machine vision. The system provides critical operational robustness, enabling the vehicle to return autonomously and precisely to the access shaft and latch to the dock with no operator input.

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Journal of Field Robotics

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