|Last January 2014, a new project funded by the EU called CADDY was set up as a collaboration between the University of Zagreb (Croatia), Consiglio Nazionale delle ricerche (Italy), Instituto Superior Técnico (Portugal), Jacobs University Bremen GGMBH (Germany), Universität Wien (Austria), Newcastle University (UK) and DAN Europe. CADDY stands for Cognitive Autonomous Diving BudDY and it consists of two autonomous robots: a surface and an underwater one. The robots will be able to guide, observe and assist the diver, in that it will read the diver’s gestures and, in case the diver shows signs of experiencing difficulties, it will communicate the diver’s situation to the surface. Furthermore, it will also guide the diver along a predefined path or back to the surface vessel when lost, while respecting diving safety rules.
Finally it will assist the diver by taking pictures, illuminating the area and carrying equipment. Meanwhile, the surface robot serves as a communication link between the diver and the underwater robot, navigating it and communicating its doings to the command centre.
The idea to build a robot buddy came from diving experts, working in the field of underwater archaeology, marine biology and marine safety as they encountered many obstacles when working underwater. There are certain tasks that cannot be performed by just divers or by only robots and that is why they came up with the idea to create a robot, intelligent enough to work closely with a diver and to guarantee his safety. This is where DAN comes in, as a representative of the diving community it will make sure that CADDY respects diving safety rules and that the project contributs to providing a more secure environment for divers to work in. Once the project has been developed, DAN is also interested in expanding the use of CADDY to other areas, such as recreational diving.
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