Visualising the seafloor on scales relevant for monitoring and planning

BioCam develops 3D visual imaging technology for seafloor mapping applications. The short range of most colour imaging systems typically requires underwater robots to carefully navigate underwater terrains at altitudes of just a few meters. BioCam leverage advanced in lighting and high-sensitivity detector technology, which allows colour imagery to be obtained from higher altitudes of up to 10 m, allowing faster-moving vehicles to be used and larger swaths of data to be collected. This allows sub-centimetre resolution 3D visual maps to be generated over orders of magnitude wider areas (see embedded videos), and this will give scientists and engineerings access to data products that cover the multi-hectare region spatial scales that are relevant to many monitoring and infrastructure planning applications. The long-range 3D imaging technology is also being used by Team Kuroshio in the Shell Ocean Discovery Xprize.

This project is funded by NERC (NE/P020887/1) under the Oceanids Marine Sensor Capital program, 2017 to 2021.

Research Expeditions

  • SSK17-01 Coral mapping off Sesoko Island, Okinawa using the AUV TUNA-SAND. PIs Thornton (UoS), Maki (UTokyo), Harii (Uni. Ryukyus) Pizarro (U, Sydney), Nishida (Kyutech). Supported by the Daiwa Foundation. See article and related video. Go to data.
  • FK180731 Adaptive Robotics at Barkley Canyon & Hydrate Ridge, off the R/V Falkor of the Schmidt Ocean Institute. Lead by Thornton (UoS). See expedition page. Go to data.
  • SSK18-01 Coral mapping off Sesoko Island, Okinawa using the AUV TUNA-SAND. PIs Thornton (UoS), Harii (Uni. Ryukyus), Nishida (Kyutech). The survey took place 2 days after a direct strike from Typhoon Trami. Go to data.

Shell Ocean discovery XPrize Runner Up - Team Kuroshio. See article.

Project Partners