Hull and harbor infrastructure inspections are frequently performed manually and involve quite a bit of risk and human
and monetary resources. In any kind of threat and resource constrained environment, this involves unacceptable levels
of risk and cost. Modern Remotely Operated Vehicles are highly refined machines that provide features and capabilities
previously unavailable. Operations once carried out by divers can now be carried out more quickly, efficiently and safely
by smart enabled ROVs. ROVs are rapidly deployable and capable of continuous, reliable operations in adverse
conditions. They also provide a stable platform on which multiple sensors may be mounted and utilized to meet the
harbor inspection problem.
Automated Control software provides ROV's and their pilots with the capability to inspect complex, constrained
environments such as those found in a harbor region. This application and the user interface allow the ROV to
automatically conduct complex maneuvers relative to the area being inspected and relieves the training requirements and
work load for the pilot, allowing he or she to focus on the primary task of survey, inspection and looking for possible
threats (such as IEDs, Limpet Mines, signs of sabotage, etc).
Real-time sensor processing tools can be integrated into the smart ROV solution to assist the operator. Automatic Target
Recognition (ATR) algorithms are used to search through the sensor data collected by the ROV in real time. These
algorithms provide immediate feedback on possible threats and notify the operator of regions that may require manual
verification. Sensor data (sonar or video) is also mosaiced, providing the operator with real-time situational awareness
and a coverage map of the hull or seafloor. Detected objects may also be placed in the context of the large scale
characteristics of the hull (or bottom or pilings) and localized. Within the complex areas such as the harbor pier pilings
and the running gear of the ship, real-time 3D reconstruction techniques may be used to process profiling sonar data for
An observation class ROV equipped with sensors, running an operator in the loop, Automated Surface-Computer (ASC)
system can inspect an entire harbor region. These systems can autonomously provide coverage information, identify
possible threats and provide the level of control required to operate in confined environments. The system may be
controlled autonomously or by the operator. Previous inspection results may also be used for change detection
This paper presents the SeeByte Smart ROV and sensor processing technology relevant to the harbor inspection problem.
These technologies have been tested extensively in real world applications and trials and are demonstrated using real
data and examples.