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Professor Blair Thornton

Professor Blair Thornton

Professor of Marine Autonomy

Research interests

  • Autonomous robotic platforms allow detailed observations to be made over large areas in the ocean. For these systems to be useful, it is necessary to develop advanced sensing capabilities and methods to allow the robots to safely navigate and accurately localize themselves in complex, GPS denied environments. Once observations have been made, it’s necessary to interpret the large volumes of data that are gathered in an efficient and scalable way. For more information on research activities, please visit the ocean perception research website.
  • Seafloor 3D visual reconstruction: Development of deep-sea imaging hardware and processing pipelines for calibration, localisation and 3D mapping of the seafloor with full-field uncertainty characterisation.
  • BioCam (NERC NE/P020887/1): Development of a deep-sea, high-altitude seafloor imaging system for monitoring seafloor ecological variables as part of the Oceanids Marine Sensor Capital program. This project is a collaboration with Sonardyne International Ltd, the National Oceanography Centre and the ACFR University of SydneyAT-SEA (NERC NE/T010592/1): 3D visual survey of decommissioned seafloor infrastructure using a shore launched Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (Boaty McBoaface) as part of the INSITE program. This project is a collaboration with the National Oceanography Centre. Automated interpretation of data: Development of AI methods for rapid scalable interpretation of seafloor imagery.

More research

Accepting applications from PhD students.

Connect with Blair

Email: b.thornton@soton.ac.uk

Address: Boldrewood Campus, Burgess Road, SO16 7QF (View in Google Maps)

Research

Research interests

  • Autonomous robotic platforms allow detailed observations to be made over large areas in the ocean. For these systems to be useful, it is necessary to develop advanced sensing capabilities and methods to allow the robots to safely navigate and accurately localize themselves in complex, GPS denied environments. Once observations have been made, it’s necessary to interpret the large volumes of data that are gathered in an efficient and scalable way. For more information on research activities, please visit the ocean perception research website.
  • Seafloor 3D visual reconstruction: Development of deep-sea imaging hardware and processing pipelines for calibration, localisation and 3D mapping of the seafloor with full-field uncertainty characterisation.
  • BioCam (NERC NE/P020887/1): Development of a deep-sea, high-altitude seafloor imaging system for monitoring seafloor ecological variables as part of the Oceanids Marine Sensor Capital program. This project is a collaboration with Sonardyne International Ltd, the National Oceanography Centre and the ACFR University of SydneyAT-SEA (NERC NE/T010592/1): 3D visual survey of decommissioned seafloor infrastructure using a shore launched Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (Boaty McBoaface) as part of the INSITE program. This project is a collaboration with the National Oceanography Centre. Automated interpretation of data: Development of AI methods for rapid scalable interpretation of seafloor imagery.
  • TechOceanS (EU H2020 101000858): Development of content aware compression, prioritization and transmission of marine imagery for near-realtime remote awareness of seafloor observations over the low communication bandwidths. This project is a consortium project led by the National Oceanography Centre. Robotics: Development of low-cost, long endurance seafloor imaging floats and highly intelligent and manoeuvrable robotic imaging platform for visual survey of complex environments.
  • DriftCam (EPSRC FellowshipEP/S001182/1): Development of low-cost passive drifting seafloor imaging floats for multi-week endurance seafloor surveys. Challenges are around structuring surveys where you can only go with the flow, localization will low cost sensors, and ensuring failsafe surfacing. This project is in collaboration with Sonardyne International Limited. Smarty200 (EPSRC EP/V035975/1): Core equipment grant for an INS equipped compact AUV for visual surveys of highly complex underwater environments and rapid acoustic and surface satellite communication. This project is in collaboration with Sonardyne International, Voyis and Iqua robotics.

Research projects

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