Lead Research Organisation: University of Southampton
Department Name: Faculty of Engineering & the Environment


Many autonomous underwater vehicles have been recently developed and successfully deployed for various oceanographic, industry and defence applications. Two important aspects in these applications are that they are expensive to produce and that they are mostly one-off products or only a few ofa kind are built that disallows quality control techniques that are used in mass production. This proposal aims to build a system to reduce the chance of AUVs malfunctioning or becoming irrecoverably lost, hence indirectly the proposal aims to reduce the effective operational cost of AUVs. The project is to build onthe many years of experience of designing, building and operatingAUVs at the National Oceanography Centre at Southampton University. The main parts of the propose system are and fault assessment system (IFAS), design optimization tool for overall operational reliability (DOPTOR) and human interface for daily operation (HIDO) .The cost of development of the proposed system is relatively low and the cost of loss of an AUVs is very high. The design system would pay for itself for a single user. Collateral benefits of the proposal are that the methodology generated is largely transferable to users other than the collaborators and also to other types of costly autonomous vehicles on land and in air.


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Morice C (2011) Geometric bounding techniques for underwater localization using range-only sensors in Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part I: Journal of Systems and Control Engineering

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Morice C (2009) Geometric Bounding Techniques for Underwater Navigation in IFAC Proceedings Volumes

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S.M. Veres (Author) (2011) Autonomous vehicle control systems - a review ofdecision making in Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part I: Journal of Systems and Control Engineering

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SM Veres (2007) Verification and Testing of Mechanical Autonomy of a Spacecraft Cluster in AIAA Journal on Guidance, Control and Dynamics

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Veres S (2011) Knowledge of machines: review and forward look in Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part I: Journal of Systems and Control Engineering

Description Major milestones and achievements during the project between Nov 2007 and Oct 2010:

1. Assessed the available hybrid system simulation tools prior to 2007.

2. Development and adoption for use of the sEnglish/MATLAB/Sateflow/Simulink software combination due to their widespread industrial use and high level programming capabilities that all code can be compiled to run on small embedded processors.

3. Produced Simulink hybrid mission management models for Autosub 6000.

4. Produced methodology of abstractions from hybrid models by sEnglish defined transitions.

5. Produced a compiler from sEglish agent definitions to Stateflow model.

6. Adopted the MCMAS model checker under the language ISPL that has been programmed by our joint project partners at Imperial College London.

7. Produced a compiler from Stateflow to ISPL

8. Built up a MATLAB GUI for multiagent definitions of the Integrated Fault Assessment System .

9. Built a complex realistic model of Autosub under sEnglish/Stateflow.

10. Applied the method of "fault injection" in model checking in collaboration joint project Partners Dr Alessio Lomuscioand RA Dr Jonathan Ezekiel (CSD Imperial College London).

11. Succesfully demonstrated the ability to test important properties of the Autosub 6000 system that were stated in ISPL temporal logic formulae.

PUBLICATIONS not yet entered into ResearchFish:

Sandor Veres (2008). Natural Language Programmig of Agents and Robotic Devices, SysBrain, London, ISBN 978-0-9558417-0-5 .

Levente Molnar and S. M. Veres (May 2009). System Verification of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles by Model Checking. Proc. IEEE Oceans'09, Bremen, Germany.

Colin Morice, Sandor Veres and Stephen McPhail (May 2009). Terrain Referencing for Autonomous Navigation of Underwater Vehicles. Proc. IEEE Oceans'09, Bremen, May 2009 Germany

Colin Morice and Sandor Veres (July 2009) Geometric Bounding Techniques for Underwater Navigation. IFAC Symposium SYSID'09, St Malo, France.

Levente Molnar and S. M. Veres(August 2009). Verification of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles Using Formal Logic. Proc. European Control Conference, ECC'09,Budapest, Hungary.

Colin Morice and S M Veres (2010): Geometric Bounding Techniques For Underwater Localisation Using Range-Only Sensors, IMechE Journal of Systems and Control, 2010, IMechE Proc. I: Journal of Systems and Control.

Sandor M Veres (2010): Mission Capable Autonomous Control Systems in the Oceans, in the Air and in Space, A.Hanazawa et al. (Eds.): Brain-Inspired Info. Technology, SCI 266, pp. 1-10. © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg January 2010.

Sandor M Veres, N K Lincoln, L Molnar, C Morice (2010). Autonomous Vehicle Control Systems - a Review of Decision Making. IMechE Journal of Systems and Control IMechE Proc. I: Journal of Systems and Control.

Sandor M Veres (2010). Theoretical foundations of natural language programming and publishing for intelligent agents and robots. Proc CD of TAROS'10 - Towards Autonomous Robotic Systems Conference, Aug 31 -Sept 2, Plymouth, UK.

Jonathan Ezekiel, Levente Molnar, Alessio Lomuscio and Sandor Veres (2011). Verifying Fault Tolerance Properties of an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle. 22nd International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 16-22 July, Barcelona, Spain.

Sandor M Veres (2011). Verification of AUV behaviour in an underwater environment. Robotics and Autonomous Systems .(draft paper in preparations)

Sandor M Veres, Nick Lincoln , Levente Molnar and Miles Pebody (2011). Formal verification of autonomous vehicles for safety. IEEE Control Systems Magazine. derwater environment. Robotics and Autonomous Systems .

Sandor M Veres, Nick Lincoln , Levente Molnar and Miles Pebody (2011). Formal verification of autonomous vehicles for safety. IEEE Control Systems Magazine. derwater environment. Robotics and Autonomous Systems .
Exploitation Route Maritime sector - surface, underwater vehicles safety
Aerospace systems safety
Ground transport autonomous systems safety
Via academic publications and industrial collaboration
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Transport

Description Academic impact: 16 publications arose from work during this project which cover man aspects of AUV reliability control. Industrial impact: Results of the project have been passed on to National Oceanography Centre Southampton. The project investigated low complexity solutions to formal verification of autonomous underwater vehicles. The methodology was demonstrated on the Autosub 6000. Software was produce which allows iterative system design to gradually improve reliability. The methods had wider impact for the verification methods of other than underwater, vehicles: the approach taken and software produce can be potentially applied to autonomous ground vehicles, boats at sea, and aerial vehicles of all sorts.
First Year Of Impact 2009
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Environment,Transport
Impact Types Cultural,Economic

Description EPSRC
Amount £460,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/F037570/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2008 
End 08/2012
Description National Oceanography Centre Southampton 
Organisation National Oceanography Centre
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Development modelling tools for the combined hardware/software system of an underwater vehicle, which can be used for reliability assessment when combined with model checking tools.
Collaborator Contribution Consultation on the reliability issues of AUVs use by the NOC.
Impact The Autosub 2 AUV was used to demonstrate our modelling tool for verification. The methods have been published at conferences and in journals.
Start Year 2007
Description Thales UK: autonomous surface vehicles development 
Organisation Thales Group
Department Thales Research & Technology (Uk) Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Developing mission management systems for autonomous surface vehicles using intelligent agent technologies derived from our EPSRC projects on Engineering Autonomous Spacecraft Software and Verifiable Autonomy.
Collaborator Contribution Described their problem, systems and approach they are taking to ASV autonomy.
Impact PhD studentship supported by Thales UK: it produces simulation based demonstration of ASV autonomy at sea.
Start Year 2011
Company Name SysBrain Ltd 
Description The company's strategy, on software development environments for autonomous robots, has been fundamentally influenced by a series of EPSRC research grants, starting from the natural language programming through to latest ROS based design systems of the company where robot decision making is verifiable by design. 
Impact The company's software, sEnglish Publisher, has been given with free licence to PDRAs and research students on all EPSRC research projects of the grant holder. This lead to application developments for autonomous surface vehicles with Thales UK, autonomous van with Tata Motors and to research carried out on autonomous drones at the university using the company's software. There was also an EU proposal with the participation of university partners: University of Surrey and University Liverpool where SysBrain Ltd was a key partner.