Study level

  • PhD


Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.

Research centre


Professor Matthew Dunbabin
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Engineering


Underwater robotic systems have been in use for several decades. In recent years, various groups have been adding manipulators and other payloads to increase their utility. However, their role has primarily been monitoring and mapping the oceans without human interaction.

The next frontier is to have human divers and robotic system collaborate safely and productively in the same space to jointly complete complex tasks. This will involve the robotic system directly understanding and interacting with the diver in a non-verbal manner. Eventually, through experience, this system will learn and predict the intent of the diver to complete tasks effectively.

Research activities

In this project, you'll explore gesture-based interaction to allow a diver and underwater robotic system to collaborate to complete various tasks. This will involve exploring vision processing and fusion algorithms, gesture recognition and intent detection and prediction. You'll then implement and validate these algorithms on our extensive state-of-the-art robotic platforms.

Research activities will include:

  • collaborating with researchers from California
  • high-quality research presentations and publications
  • evaluating algorithms in challenging real-world environments.

This project offers you the opportunity to gain invaluable experience and skills in cutting-edge robotics that will foster opportunities for international travel and collaborations.


The primary outcomes from this project include:

  • advanced robotic vision, sensor fusion and learning algorithms improving human-robot interactions
  • new autonomous decision support algorithms
  • live demonstrations and videos showing algorithm performance on robotic systems in challenging real-world scenarios
  • research papers in top international conferences and journals
  • research presentations at international conferences and other academic institutions as well as to industry.

Skills and experience

To be considered for this project you'll need a high GPA (above 6) with experience and skills in a number of the following areas:

  • programming
  • algorithms
  • image processing
  • machine learning.


You may be eligible to apply for a research scholarship.

Explore our research scholarships


Contact the supervisor for more information.