Cornell vision-enabled underwater vehicle seeks fourth straight RoboSub Competition win

Cornell University’s autonomous underwater vehicle (CUAUV), the Gemini, is a vision-enabled sub that has won the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) Foundation’s RoboSub Competition in four out of the five last years.

Cornell Gemini2 Copy

Cornell University’s autonomous underwater vehicle (CUAUV), the Gemini, is a vision-enabled sub that has won the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) Foundation’s RoboSub Competition in four out of the five last years. Looking to win for the fourth straight year, the Cornell team has made a number of improvements to Gemini, including stronger frame structure and pressure vessels, a streamlined electronics system, improved sensor system, and improved vision algorithms.

Co-sponsored by the U.S. Office of Naval Research, the competition sets out to advance the development of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV) by challenging a new generation of engineers to perform realistic missions in an underwater environment. Gemini’s vision system uses three cameras: two forward facing and one downward facing. For the two forward facing cameras, Allied Vision Technologies F-080C color CCD cameras were used. These FireWire cameras each feature a 1/3” 1032 x 778 Sony ICX204 CCD image sensor with a 4.65 µm x 4.65 µm pixel size and a frame rate of 30 fps at maximum resolution.


The downward facing camera is an IDS Imaging Development Systems IDS UI-6230SE GigE camera. The UI 6230 features a 1/3" Sony XGA CCD image sensor with a 4.65 µm x 4.65 µm pixel size and a frame rate of 40 fps at maximum resolution.

The Gemini submarine is powered by ADLINK’s Express-HL COM Express computer-on-module, which features a 4th generation quad-core Intel Core i7 processor with Mobile Intel QM86 Express chipset. The Express-HL acts as Gemini’s lone on-board computer, and is tasked with all vision processing and decision-making required by the AUV. The COM Express module—which features GigE, SATA, and USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports—supports up to 16GB dual channel DDR3L SDRAM at 1600 MHz and three DDI channels supporting three indepent displays.In addition, the Express-HL COM Express carrier board runs its own controller, as well as communicates with micro-controllers on several custom-built peripheral circuit board built into Gemini’s design.

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