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Table of Contents

Chief Investigator

Dr Matthew Dunbabin


Forward any enquiries regarding the ASV platforms to


For access to the Inference Robotic Adaptive Sampling system please email Dr Matthew Dunbabin at The access proposal template will be available July 2015.


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The Inference Robotic Adaptive Sampling system has been developed with the goal of providing researchers access to a shared resource of multiple networked Autonomous Surface Vehicles (ASVs) for remotely evaluating new sampling and path planning algorithms on real-world environmental processes over extended periods of time. The ASVs used in the multi-robot Inference system are custom designed for persistent and cooperative operation in challenging inland waterways.


The Inference Autonomous Surface Vehicle (ASV) is a small-class robotic boat designed to undertake sampling and survey tasks in sheltered water environments. The Inference platform has an interchangeable and customisable payload system allowing a large range of survey and environmental sampling tasks. The ASV can be operated manually with remote control or fully autonomously to maximise field time and transect repeatability. Typical applications include bathymetric survey, water quality monitoring, sample collection, fugitive gas emission measurement, infrastructure inspection, riparian and underwater image collection.

General Specifications

Length 1.50 m
 Width1.50 m
 Height (above waterline) 0.70 m
Draft0.15 m

33 kg (without payload)

External payload: 4 kg

Propulsion2 x BlueRobotics T100 brushless electric thrusters

12V 20Ah LFP battery

2 x 40 W solar panels


Max: 2.3 ms-1

Typical survey: 0.5 - 0.8 ms-1



Each Inference ASV is capable of carrying additional custom payloads weighing up to 4 kg. The payload is mounted under the moon-pool opening via six attachment bolts. A six pin connector is provided for use by the custom payloads. This connector provides power as well as bi-directional serial communications via a standardised protocol for triggering sampling, and reporting sample completion and possible faults.

Current Payload Systems

 Water sampling

Surface Water (20 mL)

Winch System to 40m (40 mL) 

 Gas Sampling


Exetainer sample collection 


Tritech SeaKing Dual Frequency Profiling Sonar

Lowrance HDS5 Single Beam Sonar 
 Infrastructure and riparian zone imaging

Axis P5512-E PTZ Camera1

Hokoyu Laser Range Scanner (typical range 15-25m)2.


1Performance depends on proximity to reliable 3G communications or access point.

2Only suitable for very light rain and short-duration missions (too much power).


Users who wish to develop and use custom payloads can request the communication protocol and wiring pinouts. Note that power is limited, so keep this in mind when designing payloads and sampling protocols.



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Related publications

  1. Dunbabin, M. and Grinham, A. (2017). Quantifying Spatiotemporal Greenhouse Gas Emissions Using Autonomous Surface Vehicles, Journal of Field Robotics, 34(1),  pp 151–169, doi: 10.1002/rob.21665.
  2. Dunbabin, M. (2015). Autonomous greenhouse gas sampling using multiple robotic boats. To Appear:  In Proc. 2015 International Conference on Field and Service Robotics (FSR), Toronto.


Other Links

For information on robotics related research at the Queensland University of Technology please visit the following links.

robotics@QUT home page (here).

robotics@QUT YouTube site (here).

Australian Centre for Robotic Vision (here).

International RobotX Maritime Challenge team site (here) .