Noptilus is a European Project coordinated by the Centre for Research and Technology – Hellas (CERTH). More information about the project can be found on the official project website. Initially the task of navigation with sensory-motor trajectories was allocated to the Autonomous Systems Lab at ETH Zürich under the direction of Prof R. Siegwart and Dr. C. Pradalier. When C. Pradalier moved to GeorgiaTech Lorraine in autumn 2012, the CNRS (through its UMI 2958, part of GeorgiaTech Lorraine) replaced ETHZ in the consortium. Noptilus was successfully completed on June 30th, 2015.
Sensory-motor trajectories are trajectories defined as sequence of motor controls and perception instead of sequence of state in some state-space. The advantage of sensory-motor trajectories is that they can be followed by “simply” comparing the current perception with the reference perceptions and without requiring either a precise localisation or the construction of a map of the environment. The closest related field is the field of visual servoing, where a system is driven to a given state described as a reference perception, only by comparing the current perception (typically images) with the reference one. Sensory-motor trajectories aims at extending the concept with sequences of perceptions instead of a single reference, and other modalities than images. In the particular context of Noptilus, the perception modality will be sonar images, either from an imaging sonar, a multi-beam sonar or a side-scan sonar, the latter being the modality currently under investigation. This will be applied to the underwater platforms of the Faculty of Engineering of Porto, Portugal.
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