The UDT (Undersea Defence Technology Conference & Exhibition) 2019 was held for three days from May 13th to May 15th in Stockholm, Sweden. As part of the conference 16 engineers from the defence sector were tasked with providing a survey of European underwater defence-related companies, and visiting the associated universities and companies in Scotland this year.
First to be visited was the ORCAHub, which comprises of Heriot-Watt University, the University of Edinburgh, University of Liverpool, University of Oxford and Imperial College London. The survey team visited us here at Heriot-Watt. The visiting delegates learned about the four different themes that the ORCA Hub is currently researching:
- Mapping, Surveying and Inspection
- Planning, Control and Manipulation
- Intelligent Human-Robot Interaction with explainable AI
- Robot and Asset Self-certification
Delegates visited the labs and inspected a range of underwater examination vehicles, equipped with a huge range of sensors for R&D. They also got to talk to MIRIAM a chatbot developed to provide a natural language interface between remote robot and operator, MIRIAM can justify why the robot took certain actions and communicates in a similar language as to that used by the operator.