This project's goal was to develop a robotic arm for underwater pipeline inspection. Currently, divers perform these tasks. However, due to the great depths, their bottom time is limited and they must perform extensive decompression. This task requires the ability for fine motion and force control in unstructured environments.
We developed an underwater remote teleoperation robot arm system using a hybrid approach that involves a hydrostatic rolling diaphragm actuator transmission. This Underwater Rolling Diaphragm Actuated (URDA) arm has 5 degrees of freedom with rolling diaphragm transmissions coupling hydraulic and motorized actuation.
We performed underwater teleoperation, peg-in-hole tasks, and tri-axial force reconstruction probe tests, as well as outdoor testing in the Pacific Ocean.