Underwater 3D Scanner to Counteract Refraction: Calibration and Experimental Results

Underwater 3-D laser scanners are an essential type of sensors used by unmanned underwater vehicle (UUVs) for operations such as inspection, navigation, and object recognition and manipulation. This article presents a novel 3-D laser scanner, which uses a 2-axis mirror to project straight lines into the water by compensating for refraction-related distortions. This is achieved by projecting optimally curved lines, so that the refraction when they enter the water transforms them into straight lines. The relevance of this approach lies in the fact that 3-D triangulation using planes is noticeably faster than using elliptic cones. The goal of this work is twofold: first, to prove that refraction-related distortions can in practice be compensated for by using a 2-axis mirror, and second, to present a simple calibration algorithm that only needs to compute the coefficients of polynomial functions. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, the prototype presented in this article is the first laser line scanner that actively counteracts the refraction of the projected light in the context of underwater robotics ​
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