In this episode, Ron Vanderkley speaks with Stefan Williams of the University of Sydney’s Australian Centre for Field Robotics, Marine Systems Group. They discuss the future of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), and a recent expedition where they used multi-session SLAM to map the famous Antikythera Shipwreck (circa 60-80 B.C.), one of the richest ancient wrecks ever discovered. It is located under 55m of water on the NE coast of the island of Antikythera. The site is famous for the first Analog Computer known as the Antikythera Mechanism, a geared device designed to calculate and display celestial information, including phases of the sun and a luni-solar calendar.
The ACFR leads Australia’s Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) AUV Facility. IMOS is a nationally coordinated program designed to establish and maintain the research infrastructure required to support Australia’s marine science research. The IMOS AUV facility generates physical and biological observations of benthic variables that cannot be cost-effectively obtained by other means.
Stefan Williams is a Professor at the University of Sydney’s School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering. He is a member of the Australian Centre for Field Robotics where he leads the Marine Robotics group. He is also the head of Australia’s Integrated Marine Observing System AUV Facility. His research interests include Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping in unstructured underwater environments, autonomous navigation and control and classification and clustering of large volumes of data collected by robotic systems. He received his PhD from the University of Sydney in 2002 and completed a Bachelor of Applied Science with first class honours in 1997 at the University of Waterloo, Canada.
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