The IRSLab is glad to announce the organization of the 7th workshop on maritime automation (Automar 2017), which will be held on May, 4-5, 2017. 

AUTOMAR is research network for automation and robotic focus on marine and oceanic industries and sciences. It brings together researchers from Universities, Research Centers and various industries linked to the naval, Energy, etc., and includes knowledge ranging from Naval Construction to Oceanology, through Marine Renewable Energies or Submarine Robotics, with clear interest in improving competitiveness in producing countries in the East.

Posted by Javier Pérez

As some of you may have noticed, UWSim wiki and website were suffering technical difficulties during the last weeks. This was caused by a server update that broke part of the database and made the information unavailable for a short time. Fortunately, we were able to restore the information from a backup and now everything should be working as usual. Sorry for the inconvenience this may have caused.

UWSim Virtual Machine

06 Sep 2016
Posted by Javier Pérez

We have created a virtual machine with Ubuntu Mate 14.04 and UWSim 1.4.1 already installed and working. The virtual machine is available to download here, so you can try UWSim without a linux distribution. It was created with VirtualBox so it is recommended to use it for virtualization, the user and password is "uwsim". Once the virtual machine is imported and launched in your system just open a terminal and run "roscore &" and "rosrun uwsim uwsim", if everything is OK a window with the simulator will open. It is important to remember there is a significant performance drop in virtual machines, so don’t surprise if the FPS is low.

Posted by Javier Pérez

As we announced in the last news we have added a new tutorial to start working with UWSim to our wiki. In this case instead of providing the full code, the tutorial proposes a series of guided exercises to develop a code to control the girona500 and follow green pipes using vision as main input. Barebones for the partial solutions are provided, so you can focus on the coding part. The exercises also use the benchmarking module so it is possible to evaluate the algorithm while developing. A virtual machine is also provided with the UWSim simulator, benchmarking module and exercises barebones. The tutorial can be followed at Let's do it: pipe following.

Posted by Javier Pérez

Three new scenes have been added to the website. They can be downloaded running the scene installer script like this: "./installScene -s SCENE". These scenes show three different scenarios for pipe following with different difficulty. In pipefollowing_basic.uws a simple straight green pipe is placed at the seafloor. pipefollowing_heights.uws adds pipe sections so the depth of the pipe changes. Finally pipefollowing_turns.uws adds L joints so the vehicle must turn to follow the pipe.


In each scene the vehicle girona500 is placed in an end of the pipe in order to follow until the end of it. Furthermore the pipes are green in order to make it easier to detect and segment them using a virtual camera already present in the vehicle. Shortly we will add a series of tutorial exercises that will help to understand the use of some features such as reading sensors, benchmarking and dynamics.

Posted by Javier Pérez

A new tutorial for Matlab-Simulink is available in our wiki. Although using Matlab-Simulink with ROS was possible long ago, it was hard due to problems with libraries and version compatibility. Since Matlab added the full ROS support in R2015a interfacing with anything that uses ROS, for instance UWSim, is really simple!. Just adding a few "boxes" with publishers and subscribers in Simulink... et voila! we have a controller for the vehicle. This tutorial covers how to create a simulink model for controlling a vehicle in UWSim from scratch using the Robotic System Toolbox.

Take a look at the final result of the tutorial in this video:

Posted by Javier Pérez

As a part of our creating documentation effort in the UWSim wiki, we have created a developer tutorial about how to create your own device. Long ago we included the Device manager that helps creating different kind of devices in UWSim but we had no time to write about how to use it. We hope this tutorial encourages the development of new simulated sensors and makes UWSim more useful for everyone.

The tutorial still misses some parts, such as interacting with the physics engine, but it is complete in the terms of creating a device and publishing to ROS. If you get lost trying to follow it please let us know so we can improve it!.

Posted by Javier Pérez

We have recently added a new interface for virtual range image sensors that publishes the result in a pointcloud. So the result is a pointcloud with distances from the camera frame to the nearest obstacle for each point. It is similar to a kinect sensor but take into account kinect sensors do not work underwater!. The sensor has perfect output and even underwater particles have been disabled for it because they produced a strange cloud of noise at a fixed distance. We hope to add an appropriate pattern of noise in the future.
pointcloud Output

In order to use it just add an interface linked to the virtual range image sensor like this in your rosinterfaces XML section:

  <topic> /uwsim/rangepcd </topic>

UWSim scene installer

02 Feb 2016
Posted by Javier Pérez

As UWSim is being used for different purposes we were in the need of using several scenes and share them. This process was quite tedious, so we have decided to create a basic scene installer that helps with the process of downloading and copying 3D models and configuration scenes in the correct places to be able to run them. This script is already available in the indigo branch in github and can be download here. Just place it in a scenes folder (any with a UWSimScene.dtd file), in the github is already placed in data/scenes, and run it like this:
./installScene -s dredging.uws
You will see some downloads and when it finishes you should have the new scene in your installation, just run uwsim "rosrun uwsim uwsim --configfile dredging.xml" and if everything worked as it should UWSim will start with the new scene (you may need to execute catkin_make install). You can check the available scenes in the new scenes tab of the website and more details on how to use it in the wiki. Finally if you want to share your scenes you can do it here.

Posted by Javier Pérez

We have been upgrading our website to make it more social and now every news published in our website will be automatically twitted. The goal of this feature is to increase the interaction and feedback from readers so we can have a more friendly relation in the increasingly social world. So if you want to know, comment or discuss the latest news about UWSim, IRSLab achievements or events you can follow us on twitter @IRSLab and you will receive the updates as soon as they are published on the website.