Skip to main content
FRoSt Lab
Field Robotic Systems Lab

Heron ASV

A platform to conduct surface marine missions where the focus is image collection. These images can be used to create mosaics or 3D maps of the surveyed area.

In collaboration with Richard Gill's Gill Laboratory in Biology, we have developed an ASV surveyor platform for marine environment and coral reef monitoring. The base system is a Heron Robot from Clearpath Robotics. We have augmented this system with a GPS for navigation and geotagging of data, 2 FLIR cameras for stereo imaging, and a Manta Eureka water sensor for water sampling. Stereo imagery, water quality data, and GPS information are all collected, synchronized, and geotagged for post-processing.

Our modified Heron completed its first field operation in Moloka’i Hawaii in November 2021, collecting over 50 thousand geotagged images of the coral reef with additional water quality measurements. This data was then fed into a 3D reconstruction pipeline to generate the 3D model of an approximately 40m x 60m section of reef shown below. We will be working with Dr. Gill’s laboratory to support the evaluation of the health of the reef.


Further improvements will include an echo sounder for basic depth estimation, new camera mounts, and a fresh BYU FRoSt lab paint job.