Use of unmanned marine vehicles for hurricane damage inspection Conference Paper uri icon


  • This paper describes the deployment of the custom Sea-RAI man-portable unmanned surface vehicle and two commercially available underwater vehicles (the autonomous YSI EcoMapper and the tethered VideoRay) for inspection of the Rollover Pass bridge in the Bolivar peninsula of Texas, which was damaged during Hurricane Ike. The Sea-RAI successfully performed the two key tasks in subsurface bridge inspection using a DIDSON acoustic camera: mapping of the debris field and inspecting the bridge footings for scour. The deployment identified three challenges for unmanned marine vehicle control: navigation under loss of GPS, underwater obstacle avoidance, and stable positioning in high currents without GPS. The field work also illustrated the advantages of surface and underwater vehicles working cooperatively. Improvements for human-robot interaction were suggested, including having additional display units so that mission specialists can view and operate on imagery independently of the operator control unit, incorporating 2-way audio to allow operator and field personnel to communicate while launching or recovering the vehicle, and the inclusion of teleoperation as the backup mode for autonomy. The effort helps establish the domain of bridge inspection and the findings are expected to assist in the design and development of unmanned marine systems for littoral inspection.

published proceedings

  • AUVSI Unmanned Systems North America Conference 2009

author list (cited authors)

  • Murphy, R. R., Steimle, E., Lindemuth, M., Trejo, D., Hall, M., Slocum, D., Hurlebaus, S., & Medina-Cetina, Z.

complete list of authors

  • Murphy, RR||Steimle, E||Lindemuth, M||Trejo, D||Hall, M||Slocum, D||Hurlebaus, S||Medina-Cetina, Z

publication date

  • December 2009