These were the speakers at our workshop held in 2017 at Singapore Polytechnic Lecture Hall LT14B (Venue infomap location ).

Details on the 2018 workshop will be updated on the site later.

Speakers at SAUVC

Senior R&D Engineer, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), USA

Topic: What is Autonomy and when does it become Artificial Intelligence

The world full of autonomous robots but does that make them intelligent. The reality is robots are partially autonomous and for the most part controlled by commands either from a human or an external system. We are facing a new era in underwater robotics where sensors are introducing data to a robotic system and the robot creates a plan around that data. At what point do we step from a controlled robot to a robot not in our control and when does that step beyond autonomous to intelligence. 

Download slides here

About the speaker:
William J. Kirkwood (Bill) is currently the Senior Research and Development Engineer at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) located in Moss Landing in California. Bill is also the current Treasurer for the IEEE - Ocean Engineering Society (OES) and Technical Committee Chair for the OES Unmanned Maritime Vehicles and Submersibles and Innovative Technologies Committee. Bill also serves on the standards committee for SCC42 – Transportation Standard focused on Connected Vehicles. Bill has been with MBARI for 25 years and has developed a number of remotely operated and autonomous vehicle system as well as sub sea instrumentation.  

Professor, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, University of Zagreb, Croatia

Topic: Cooperative and not-so-cooperative marine robots

Recently a lot of research in the area of cooperative robotics has been extended to the marine robotics domain. The main reason for this is economy-driven: multiple robots operating cooperatively can reduce the operation time and extend the area of coverage. The question that arises is what happens when a non-cooperative node, such as a human, is introduced in the group of robots? 

This talk will address some research challenges and results that have been obtained within the subCULTron project ( where a group of 5 autonomous surface vehicles (artificial lilypads), 25 unmanned underwater vehicles (artificial fish) and 120 seabed nodes with limited motion capabilities (artificial mussels) are used to form an artificial marine society. The focus will be placed on cooperative distributed algorithms for information exchange and positioning.

Further on, we will address the issue of including a non-cooperative node in a form of a human diver. Research challenges and results will be presented within the CADDY project ( where for the first time human-robot interaction in the underwater environment has been studied. 

About the speaker: 
Nikola Mišković (MSc 2005, PhD 2010) is an associate professor at the University of Zagreb where he teaches control engineering related courses. He conducts his research within the Laboratory for Underwater Systems and Technologies ( He is a project coordinator of H2020 EXCELLABUST - Excelling LABUST in Marine Robotics, FP7 CADDY - Cognitive Autonomous Diving Buddy and ONR-G  projects related to marine robotics. He was a coordinator of a number of national funded projects. He was also involved in FP7 CURE, FP7 CART, NATO-NURC collaboration project and is currently involved in FP7 EUROFLEETS2 project and H2020 subCULTron project. He was a visiting researcher at Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, ISSIA, Genova, Italy in 2008. He is a member of the IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society, the European Embedded Control Institute and the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. He is the author of 2 book chapters and more than 50 papers in journals and international conferences. His research interests include mathematical modelling, cooperative guidance, control and navigation of marine vessels (surface and underwater), nonlinear control theory and its applications in marine robotics. He has been the Programme Chair of "Breaking the Surface", an interdisciplinary workshop on marine robotics and applications for 8 years.

Professor, Marine Robotics, Sydney University, Australia

Topic: Autonomous Underwater Vehicles Applications in Marine Imaging

This talk will describe insights gained from a decade of autonomous marine systems development at the University of Sydney’s Australian Centre for Field Robotics. Over the course of this time, we have developed and deployed numerous underwater vehicles and imaging platforms in support of applications in engineering science, marine ecology, archaeology and geoscience. We have operated an Australia-wide benthic observing program designed to deliver precisely navigated, repeat imagery of the seafloor. This initiative makes extensive use of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) to collect high-resolution stereo imagery, multibeam sonar and water column measurements on an annual or semi-annual basis at sites around Australia, spanning the full latitudinal range of the continent from tropical reefs in the north to temperate regions in the south. We have also contributed to expeditions to document coral bleaching, cyclone recovery, submerged neolithic settlement sites, ancient shipwrecks, methane seeps and deepwater hydrothermal vents. We briefly consider how automated tools for working with this imagery have facilitated the resulting science outcomes.

About the speaker:
Stefan B. Williams is the Professor of Marine Robotics at the University of Sydney. He is a member of the Australian Centre for Field Robotics where he leads the Marine Robotics group. In 2016 he was appointed as Head of School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering and was president of the Australian Robotics and Automation Association from 2014-2016. He is also the head of Australia’s Integrated Marine Observing System Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Facility. His research interests include Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping in unstructured underwater environments using visual and acoustic sensing, autonomous navigation and control and classification and clustering of large volumes of data collected by robotic systems. He received his PhD from the University of Sydney in 2002 and completed a Bachelor of Applied Science in Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo, Canada in 1997.