DOI: 10.3390/jmse12020306 ISSN: 2077-1312

Advanced Underwater Measurement System for ROVs: Integrating Sonar and Stereo Vision for Enhanced Subsea Infrastructure Maintenance

Jiawei Zhang, Fenglei Han, Duanfeng Han, Jianfeng Yang, Wangyuan Zhao, Hansheng Li
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Civil and Structural Engineering

In the realm of ocean engineering and maintenance of subsea structures, accurate underwater distance quantification plays a crucial role. However, the precision of such measurements is often compromised in underwater environments due to backward scattering and feature degradation, adversely affecting the accuracy of visual techniques. Addressing this challenge, our study introduces a groundbreaking method for underwater object measurement, innovatively combining image sonar with stereo vision. This approach aims to supplement the gaps in underwater visual feature detection with sonar data while leveraging the distance information from sonar for enhanced visual matching. Our methodology seamlessly integrates sonar data into the Semi-Global Block Matching (SGBM) algorithm used in stereo vision. This integration involves introducing a novel sonar-based cost term and refining the cost aggregation process, thereby both elevating the precision in depth estimations and enriching the texture details within the depth maps. This represents a substantial enhancement over existing methodologies, particularly in the texture augmentation of depth maps tailored for subaquatic environments. Through extensive comparative analyses, our approach demonstrates a substantial reduction in measurement errors by 1.6%, showing significant promise in challenging underwater scenarios. The adaptability and accuracy of our algorithm in generating detailed depth maps make it particularly relevant for underwater infrastructure maintenance, exploration, and inspection.

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