Miquel Massot is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Southampton. He is a field robotics engineer with more than ten years of experience on underwater robotics, underwater imaging and artificial intelligence. He obtained his PhD from the University of the Balearic Islands and since 2018 he is with the University of Southampton. He has been involved in multiple international research-lead cruises as well as in the development and deployment of diverse marine platforms and payloads. He currently works on underwater robotics, seafloor mapping and imaging techniques for a better understanding of our oceans in Ocean Perception research group.
His research interests are remote awareness, how to bridge the gap between data collection and discovery using AI; scalable and affordable ocean exploration and laser-based underwater reconstruction and mapping.
To make imaging in marine applications scalable, there is a need to eliminate reliance on tethering and/or recovery for data extraction; and developed end-to-end automated workflows (both training and analysis) for information extraction that are robust to different targets and instrument specifications. The project “TechOceanS” will make use of AI-driven image processing and transmission to bridge information from underwater robots to shore and back.
Scalable underwater robotics
Robotic seafloor imaging is becoming increasingly recognised as a necessary component of environmental baselUpdateine and infrastructure impact assessment surveys. To enable massive scalability, the project “Mapping in the background” will build Driftcams, or imaging floats. These platforms are energetically efficient as they do not propel themselves laterally, instead drifting passively on currents near the seafloor. Actuators are only used to dive and maintain a constant altitude during their observations. The reliance on crewed vessels with expert operators and facilities for energy replenishment can be reduced, making these platforms suitable for deployment in large numbers. In my research, I studied how to deploy these drifters to target a specific location of the seafloor, and how to achieve fail-safe neutral buoyancy at depth.
Consistent underwater laser bathymetry
The accuracy of a bathymetric map is dependent on the accuracy of the navigation solution used. The image resolution of an underwater imaging survey has decreased from decimetres to millimetres in the past years. However, localisation sensors still have the same sensing uncertainty in the scale of meters. In my research, I proposed methods to improve laser-based bathymetric maps using probabilistic approaches.
Current PhD Students
I graduated in 2011 from the Polytechnic University of Barcelona with an MEng degree in Industrial Engineering. In 2013 I graduated with an MSc in Information Technologies from the University of the Balearic Islands and PhD in 2019. My PhD thesis focused on underwater laser 3D reconstruction. I am a field robotics researcher with more than eighty days spent at sea doing field experiments whilst collaborating with other universities and 3rd parties on state-of-the-art research and work-class underwater robots. My research focuses on improving the imaging capabilities in ocean exploration and situational awareness. In 2018 I was appointed as a research fellow on a project about scalable underwater mapping and drifters called DriftCam, and in 2021 as senior research fellow for the project TechOceanS.