Floating Underwater Manipulation: Developed Control Methodology and Experimental Validation within the TRIDENT Project



This paper presents the control framework that has been proposed and successfully employed within the TRIDENT EU FP7 project, the aim of which is to develop a multipurpose Intervention Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (I-AUV) exhibiting smart manipulation capabilities, for interventions within unstructured underwater environments. In particular, the work focuses on the exploitation of the highly redundant system for achieving a dexterous object grasping, while also satisfying a set of conditions of scalar inequality type to be achieved ultimately. These represent safety and/or operational-enabling conditions for the overall system itself, such as, for instance, respecting joint limits and keeping the object grossly centered in the camera system. Thus the design of a control architecture exhibiting such a property first required an extension of the classical task priority framework, to be performed in such a way as to also account, in a uniform manner, for inequality conditions to be achieved ultimately. Then, following a description on how such an extension has been made, both simulations and experimental trials are successively presented to show how the developed TRIDENT I-AUV system is able to properly exploit all the redundant degrees of freedom for achieving all the established objectives.