Daniel Croul - AIMS@JCU

Daniel Croul


Recipient of an AIMS@JCU Scholarship

College of Science and Engineering

Daniel Croul


College of Science and Engineering
Concurrent Autonomous Surface-Underwater Monitoring System

Daniel Croul was born in Townsville and completed his Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) – Bachelor of Science at James Cook University, where he majored in electrical engineering and mathematics. His thesis project entitled “System Identification of a Wave-Adaptive Modular Vessel using Prediction Error Methods” exposed him to the field of robotics. During this time, Daniel developed an interest in applied control theory for embedded systems, and modelling of robotic systems.

Concurrent Autonomous Surface-Underwater Monitoring System

2023 to 2027

Project Description

Currently, applications of combined ASV-AUV systems in shallow water environments is poorly understood.
The project aims to model dynamics associated with a surface vessel tethered to an underwater vehicle, and simulate the coupled systems motion under manifold theorem-based control.

Project Importance

AIMS is in the process of procuring an ASV intended for use by the Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program (RRAP), and development of a Reefscan Towed Platform is underway by the AIMS technology team. Once both systems are operational, the project provides a means of combining the two into a fully autonomous surface-underwater monitoring system.

The ASV-AUV system can be used in nearshore, turbid zones where deployment of divers would usually be unsafe, or conduct manta tow surveys in the presence of potentially hazardous marine life. Other benefits include improved mapping and monitoring capability, observation of marine animals and pests, longer survey duration, and improved safety, accuracy, and repeatability of field missions.

Project Methods

The autonomous system will be designed to have surface and underwater navigation capability, and will be composed of three components: an ASV, AUV, and a tether linking the two vehicle. Inclusion of the towed Reefscan platform adds complexity and challenges for the system related to control of underwater underactuated robotics, and soft robotics as determined by the tether.

It is proposed manifold theorem be used to address the development of the three system components as it has demonstrated stable control and trajectory tracking for ASVs and USVs, in addition to successfully modelling simple geometric and dynamic properties of soft robotic cables.

Project Results

Daniel hopes from his work that the ASV-AUV system can readily detect objects, and plan its motion accordingly to prevent fouling of the tether linking both systems. Ideally, such a system will be optimised to perform manoeuvres that enable accurate autonomous mapping, in-field COTS detection, and image-based data collection.


Coral reefs,
Crown of Thorn Starfish,
Marine planning,

Supervised By:

Paul Rigby (AIMS)

Shou-Han Zhou (JCU)

Mia Hoogenboom (JCU)