Bharath Kalyan, Venugopalan Pallayil (General Co-Chairs) & Hari Vishnu (Publicity Chair)
The IEEE OES AUV Symposium is a collaborative symposium sponsored by IEEE OES and organized once in every two years. It aims to bring together those working in the field of marine robotics, including but not limited to autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV), to exchange new knowledge and explore future directions.
The 2022 IEEE OES AUV Symposium was held in Singapore, at the Shaw Foundation Alumnus House (SFAH), located within the main campus of National University of Singapore. The event was followed by the underwater robotics competition Singapore AUV Challenge (SAUVC). The symposium was endorsed by UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development underlying the importance and alignment of the event with the goals of this global movement.
Given the challenges associated with post-COVID travel, the event was held in the hybrid format, even though the initial plan was to have it as an in-person only event.
Below are the some of the statistics from the event.
- 56 submissions (full paper + abstracts),
- 42 papers accepted for oral presentation,
- 30 full papers accepted following peer review,
- 100 registered participants,
- 18 countries,
- 7 Student travel grants,
- 5 patrons.
The opening address was given by the guest of honor, Prof. Chan Eng Soon, CEO, Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine, Singapore (TCOMS), who emphasized the role of marine robotics in ocean observation, asset management and combating climate change.
As part of the symposium, we had three plenary talks:
- “Challenges in Deploying Robust Autonomy for Robotic Exploration in Marine Environments” by Prof. Stefan Williams, University of Sydney, Australia.
- “Learning-based Design and Control of Underwater Robots” by Prof. Daniela Rus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA.
- “Marine robotics challenges and applications – Current research at the Italian center ISME” by Prof. Gianluca Antonelli, University of Cassino and Southern Lazio, Italy.
In a departure from traditional format, the 2022 edition of the AUV symposium introduced two categories of submission:
- Full paper submissions – These papers were fully peer reviewed and the accepted authors were given an opportunity to present their work at the symposium and have their papers published in IEEE Xplore.
- Presentation-only submissions – This involved submission of extended abstracts. The accepted extended abstracts were included in the symposium proceedings and the registered authors were given an opportunity to present their work, however, these abstracts were not published in IEEE Xplore.
The symposium had 9 single track technical sessions categorized based on technical topics. Each presenter was given 12 minutes to present and 3 minutes for questions from the audience specific to the author. At the end of each technical session, we had a 15-minute panel session with the panel comprising of presenters in the session and the session chair moderating it. The idea was to encourage discussions and questions relevant to the broad theme of the session, which could be shared amongst all the authors, and also to take up questions that could not be asked during the individual talks. This format was appreciated by the participants as it fostered better audience-presenter interactions, which was one of the aims of the symposium.
The UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030, known as the Ocean Decade) is generating increasing enthusiasm and energy in the ocean science communities. Marine robotics and autonomous systems community have a big part to play in taking technology forward in the coming decade for improved sensing and ocean exploration. The panel discussion focused around the Decade theme, namely, how to achieve the “Science we Need for the Ocean we Want”. The panelists included John Potter (NTNU, Norway), William Kirkwood (MBARI, USA), Neil Bose (Memorial University, Canada) and Mark Roberts (Kongsberg) with the session moderated by Richard Mills (Kongsberg). The panel session was in hybrid format, allowing virtual participation to non-registered participants as well. The event saw a small amount of virtual participation.
During the 2022 symposium, several awards were presented to researchers in the field of marine robotics and autonomy, in recognition of their contributions to the international AUV community. The following awards were presented:
Lifetime Achievement Award
This award is presented to individuals in recognition of lifelong impact in the field of Autonomous Marine Systems. The 2022 IEEE OES Lifetime achievement award was presented to Prof. Hanumant Singh, Northeastern University, Boston, USA.
Rising Star Award
This award is presented to mid-career individuals in recognition of early career impact and future potential in the field of Autonomous Marine Systems. The 2022 IEEE OES Rising Star Award was presented to Prof. Blair Thornton, University of Southampton, UK with a cross appointment at the Institute of Industrial Science, University of Tokyo, Japan, and Prof. Nikola Mišković, University of Zagreb, Croatia.
The award ceremony culminated with an appreciation to the local organizing committee by AMS-TC of IEEE OES for organizing the 2022 edition of the symposium. The AMS TC chair, Prof Hanumanth Singh, also announced that the 2024 edition of the AUV symposium will be held in Boston, USA.
Ocean Basin: Site Visit
The Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine, Singapore (TCOMS), is a national R&D centre dedicated to the Marine & Offshore and Maritime sectors. It integrates research and industry expertise to co-create innovative concepts and solutions to address real world challenges. A core feature of TCOMS is the next-generation Deepwater Ocean Basin research facility (60x48x12 m basin with a 50 m deep hole), which is equipped with advanced wave and current generation systems to simulate challenging ocean environments that marine platforms and ships operate in.
A technical site visit to TCOMS Ocean Basin facility was arranged for all attendees of the AUV Symposium 2022. The visit garnered significant interest amongst the participants and facilitated good discussions between the visitors and the CEO of TCOMS, Prof. Chan Eng Soon.
Figure 9: An overview of the Ocean basin capabilities was presented to the symposium attendees by the TCOMS team (above). Ripples from a plunging wave that greeted the AUV Symposium attendees moments earlier. The 3D wave was created to demonstrate the wave-making capability of the TCOMS ocean basin facility (below).
The ice-breaker reception, symposium gala dinner and pub-grub evening during the panel session provided excellent opportunities to network and engage with participants. The ice breaker reception and the pub-grub evening were held at Shaw Foundation Alumnus House. The gala dinner and the awards ceremony were held at Vineyard@Hort park, Singapore. Overall, we received good feedback on the organization of the symposium, including on the technical sessions and discussions, social events and the site visit.
The symposium was organized by IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society with the members of the local organizing committee from Singapore Chapter. The National University of Singapore was the host institution where the symposium was held. Kongsberg, Office of Naval Research (ONRG), Schmidt Ocean Institute, Larsen & Toubro and National University of Singapore were the patrons. Further, the event was supported by Singapore tourism board. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to all our patrons for their support.