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Dr. Ivan Masmitja, MSCA-IF-GF fellow, is conducting a secondment at the Uw Robotics lab

June 3, 2021

Ivan Masmitja is a post doc researcher at Institut de Ciències del Mar (ICM-CSIC) that is currently employed under the Individual Fellowships grant from the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions of H2020 programme. Among the different scientific missions planned, he will conduct 6 months secondment supervised by Dr. Marc Carreras, in the underwater robotics lab, within the framework of the project entitled “Artificial Intelligence methods for Underwater target Tracking – AiforUTracking”. The first secondment started on the 1st of March and will end on the 31st of May 2021 and he will be back for 3 more months in 2022, from the 1st of July until the 30th of September.

 

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (MSCA) Individual Fellowships is to enhance the creative and innovative potential of experienced researchers wishing to diversify their individual competence in terms of skill acquisition through advanced training, international and intersectoral mobility.

 

In order to know more about his stay, we have asked him to share with us his experience by answering some questions:

 

You have been awarded with the Individual Fellowship Marie Skłodowska -Curie Action, congratulations! Can you explain us which opportunity is giving you this grant and what is the AIforUTracking project about?

 

This is an important fellowship and I’m very honoured to have been awarded with it. My main phd thesis topic was related in underwater target tracking using underwater vehicles. And now, thanks to the Artificial Intelligence methods for Underwater Target tracking project, or AIforUTracking, I will have the opportunity to further study different cutting edge technologies to improve our knowledge of marine animal behaviours by tracking their movements using autonomous vehicles.

 

Why did you choose to conduct the secondment at ViCOROB?

 

I knew the excellent work that Marc Carreras and his team was conducting at ViCOROB and I was just looking for an excuse to work with them. Finally, I had this opportunity with the Marie Curie fellowship, and I just doesn’t miss it. From my point of view, they are one of the best in Europe designing AUV, and having them onboard of this project will make the difference.

 

Which results do you expect to have after you first stay?

 

Right now, we are implementing the algorithms for underwater target tracking using range-only methods based on Particle Filter. And we hope to conduct some field tests in the Catalan coast. This will be used as a ground true to compare the performance of the new algorithms that will be developed, which will be based on reinforcement learning.

 

Which is your next research destination?

 

After this first secondment, I will travel to California, US , to work at MBARI (the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute) where I will continue developing the algorithms and work with target tracking methods. There, I will have the change to implement the algorithms in the autonomous surface vehicles called Wave Gliders.

 

How would you imagine a future collaboration with VICOROB?

 

As a member of the Institut de Ciències del Mar, we have collaborated previously with ViCOROB and I hope to continue it. I think that a strong relation between biologists and engineers is key to develop cutting-edge technologies and improve the knowledge that we have about the ocean, and therefore, improve their conservation.  In that sense, underwater robotic platforms will play (or are playing) a crucial role.

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