Autonomous charging for an underwater robotic fish by direct contact

Paul Phamduy, Jayhwan Cheong, Maurizio Porfiri

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The operation of autonomous underwater vehicles is often hindered by their battery capacity, limiting the duration of its use. Here, we propose an integrated solution for autonomous charging of a robotic fish via direct contact through a novel claw mechanism for docking guidance. To assist the robotic fish in the docking process, the system incorporates a charging station designed with form-fit claws. A controller is designed to monitor the battery level of the robotic fish during free swimming and coordinate the docking process with respect to the maneuvers of both the robot and form-fit claws. Upon recognizing a low battery level, the controller commands the robotic fish to begin the docking process, and video feedback from an overhead camera is used to inform the autonomous navigation toward the charging station. After reaching a battery level threshold, the robotic fish is then released back in the water and returns to free swimming until the battery is discharged again. Through a series of experiments, we demonstrate the possibility of prolonged operation, consisting of repeated cycles of autonomous charging. Our proposed charging method enables prolonged autonomous swimming with minimal human supervision, opening the door for new, transformative applications of robotic fish in laboratory research and field deployment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMechatronics; Mechatronics and Controls in Advanced Manufacturing; Modeling and Control of Automotive Systems and Combustion Engines; Modeling and Validation; Motion and Vibration Control Applications; Multi-Agent and Networked Systems; Path Planning and Motion Control; Robot Manipulators; Sensors and Actuators; Tracking Control Systems; Uncertain Systems and Robustness; Unmanned, Ground and Surface Robotics; Vehicle Dynamic Controls; Vehicle Dynamics and Traffic Control
PublisherAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers
ISBN (Electronic)9780791850701
StatePublished - 2016
EventASME 2016 Dynamic Systems and Control Conference, DSCC 2016 - Minneapolis, United States
Duration: Oct 12 2016Oct 14 2016

Publication series

NameASME 2016 Dynamic Systems and Control Conference, DSCC 2016


OtherASME 2016 Dynamic Systems and Control Conference, DSCC 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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