Soon, ROV pilots could literally have a feel for what's going on with the underwater robot.

Currently, pilots control these remotely operated vehicles from a chair in a tech-heavy ROV control room. The pilot watches screens and live video feeds and uses a joystick to maneuver the ROV through an inspection, installation or repair operation. But augmented sensory tech could find its way into the control room and onto the body of the ROV pilots in the form of VR headsets and haptic suits.

Haptic technology allows a user to feel forced vibration and motion, all of which could be used to improve control of machines from afar. Unity—a physics engine—constructs the VR environment that provides the pilot all the information needed to safely operate the ROV.

Through a project funded through the National Science Foundation's "Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier" Program, ABS is partnering with the University of Florida to develop and qualify the technology—dubbed Augmented Reality Interface for Submersibles or ARIS—for use with ROVs.

The project focuses on human robot sensory transfer for worker productivity, training and quality of life in remote undersea inspection and construction tasks.

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