The Underwater Swimming Manipulator — A Bioinspired Solution for Subsea Operations
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionIEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering. 2018, 43 (2), 402-417. 10.1109/JOE.2017.2768108
Underwater vehicles have carried out subsea operations for many decades, and since the 1980s, remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) have been essential for the development and maintenance of subsea installations. As the technology has progressed, various types of vehicles have been developed to perform subsea inspection, maintenance, and repair (IMR) operations, including conventional work class ROVs, inspection class ROVs, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), and, more recently, intervention AUVs. The underwater swimming manipulator (USM), presented in this paper, is an innovative bioinspired addition to the family of underwater robotic vehicles. The overall vision of the USM is to provide a significant impact on how to perform inspection and light intervention tasks. In this paper, we discuss the most important applications for the USM and the main challenges related to modeling, guidance, and control of this innovative vehicle. We provide a detailed description of the concept of the USM, together with a proposed generic motion control framework. A kinematic and dynamic model of the USM is derived for the purpose of designing control algorithms, and selected task-based control approaches are presented, based on inverse kinematic control. We also present the development of a simulation environment, a simulation model of the USM, and provide simulations to support the use of USMs for subsea IMR operations.