Author : Nicholas Weidner
Advisor : Dr. Ioannis Rekleitis
The proposed work presents a systematic approach for 3-D mapping and reconstruction of underwater caves. Exploration of underwater caves is very important for furthering our understanding of hydrogeology, managing efficiently water resources, and advancing our knowledge in marine archaeology. Underwater cave exploration by human divers however, is a tedious, labor intensive, extremely dangerous operation, and requires highly skilled people. As such, it is an excellent fit for robotic technology, which has never before been addressed. The proposed solution employs a stereo camera and a video-light. The approach utilizes the intersection of the cone of video-light with the cave boundaries resulting in the construction of a wire frame outline of the cave. Successive frames produce a scalable accurate point cloud which, through the use of adapted 3-D geometry reconstruction techniques, creates a fully replicated model of the cave system.