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An Intelligent Robotic System for Underwater Structure Maintenance

This project is the second stage of the research on intelligent robots for underwater structure cleaning and maintenance. The first stage of this research focused on scoping study and robot design. For further information about the first stage of this research see here.

Underwater infrastructure in sectors such as transportation, marine services and energy resources is progressively deteriorating. To date, the only way to periodically inspect the condition of underwater infrastructure assets is using human divers; an extremely dangerous, labour intensive and expensive exercise. 

Funded by an ARC Linkage Project, UTS and the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) of NSW are developing a robotic solution for the inspection and maintenance of underwater bridge piles. The project aims to advance our understanding of how autonomous robots can clean and inspect underwater structural members, and develop breakthrough methodologies that will enable the development of such robotic systems. Using a robotic system for inspection and maintenance in near-surface and tidal environments is challenging. Structures such as bridge piles vary in shape and size, and are normally covered in marine growth, which obscures the pile's geometry and interferes with condition assessment. The robots’ ability to operate in low visibility and in the presence of complex water currents is therefore essential.

Research topics addressed in this project include:

  • Perception
  • Localisation and mapping 
  • Planning and control
  • Condition assessment 

Chief Investigators

Other Members


  • ARC Linkage Project, with Roads and Maritime Services (NSW)


  • 2015 – 2018