Coral Reef Mapping using Ocean Drones and Laser Quadrat

Preprint posted on 30.11.2019, 13:51 by Cesar Jung-Harada

, Ken Yuen Kian CHEW, Eddie YUNG, Sidhant GUPTA, Rohak SINGHAL, Nitin PENDKAR, Kaveesh SIVARAJ, Shoyu KANEKO, Priyank SHARMA, Ethan BUI, Justin GRACE, Dooho HAN, Gökçe ÖZER, Katherine CHIN

One of the biggest challenges with regard to coral conservation is that reef mapping is currently carried out manually, with a group a divers manually moving and placing a large PVC quadrat for every unit area of the reef and then photographing each unit separately. [U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 084­01]. This process is time­-consuming, dangerous for the divers as well as expensive resulting in an unfavourable coral monitoring process. In order to attempt improving the current methodology, a reef­ mapping drone robot which can sail on the water surface and photograph and map the reef autonomously at a low cost was built.

This robot updates the physical quadrat which is used today, to a projected laser quadrat ­ which eliminates the need to dive to the bottom of the sea while preserving the functionality of the physical quadrat. To implement this, we use existing GPS stabilization neural networks and waypoint navigation systems from airborne drone systems and adapt it to handle the needs of a water-borne robot. We then use a laser-based project quadrat coupled with on­board image processing to extract the required parameters.


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