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Concept: Autonomous underwater vehicle


This paper demonstrates how multi-scale measures of rugosity, slope and aspect can be derived from fine-scale bathymetric reconstructions created from geo-referenced stereo imagery. We generate three-dimensional reconstructions over large spatial scales using data collected by Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs), manned submersibles and diver-held imaging systems. We propose a new method for calculating rugosity in a Delaunay triangulated surface mesh by projecting areas onto the plane of best fit using Principal Component Analysis (PCA). Slope and aspect can be calculated with very little extra effort, and fitting a plane serves to decouple rugosity from slope. We compare the results of the virtual terrain complexity calculations with experimental results using conventional in-situ measurement methods. We show that performing calculations over a digital terrain reconstruction is more flexible, robust and easily repeatable. In addition, the method is non-contact and provides much less environmental impact compared to traditional survey techniques. For diver-based surveys, the time underwater needed to collect rugosity data is significantly reduced and, being a technique based on images, it is possible to use robotic platforms that can operate beyond diver depths. Measurements can be calculated exhaustively at multiple scales for surveys with tens of thousands of images covering thousands of square metres. The technique is demonstrated on data gathered by a diver-rig and an AUV, on small single-transect surveys and on a larger, dense survey that covers over [Formula: see text]. Stereo images provide 3D structure as well as visual appearance, which could potentially feed into automated classification techniques. Our multi-scale rugosity, slope and aspect measures have already been adopted in a number of marine science studies. This paper presents a detailed description of the method and thoroughly validates it against traditional in-situ measurements.

Concepts: Demonstration, Calculation, Plane, Singular value decomposition, Mathematics, Depth perception, Autonomous underwater vehicle, Principal component analysis


Transoceanic Gliders are Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) for which there is a developing and expanding range of applications in open-seas research, technology and underwater clean transport. Mature glider autonomy, operating depth (0-1000 meters) and low energy consumption without a CO2footprint enable evolutionary access across ocean basins. Pursuant to the first successful transatlantic glider crossing in December 2009, the Challenger Mission has opened the door to long-term, long-distance routine transoceanic AUV missions. These vehicles, which glide through the water column between 0 and 1000 meters depth, are highly sensitive to the ocean current field. Consequently, it is essential to exploit the complex space-time structure of the ocean current field in order to plan a path that optimizes scientific payoff and navigation efficiency. This letter demonstrates the capability of dynamical system theory for achieving this goal by realizing the real-time navigation strategy for the transoceanic AUV named Silbo, which is a Slocum deep-glider (0-1000 m), that crossed the North Atlantic from April 2016 to March 2017. Path planning in real time based on this approach has facilitated an impressive speed up of the AUV to unprecedented velocities resulting in major battery savings on the mission, offering the potential for routine transoceanic long duration missions.

Concepts: Vehicle, Underwater glider, Unmanned vehicles, Ocean, 2017, 2016, Atlantic Ocean, Autonomous underwater vehicle


This Australian benthic data set (BENTHOZ-2015) consists of an expert-annotated set of georeferenced benthic images and associated sensor data, captured by an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) around Australia. This type of data is of interest to marine scientists studying benthic habitats and organisms. AUVs collect georeferenced images over an area with consistent illumination and altitude, and make it possible to generate broad scale, photo-realistic 3D maps. Marine scientists then typically spend several minutes on each of thousands of images, labeling substratum type and biota at a subset of points. Labels from four Australian research groups were combined using the CATAMI classification scheme, a hierarchical classification scheme based on taxonomy and morphology for scoring marine imagery. This data set consists of 407,968 expert labeled points from around the Australian coast, with associated images, geolocation and other sensor data. The robotic surveys that collected this data form part of Australia’s Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) ongoing benthic monitoring program. There is reuse potential in marine science, robotics, and computer vision research.

Concepts: Biological classification, Unmanned vehicles, Computer graphics, Oceanography, Data, Autonomous underwater vehicle, Australia, Artificial intelligence


Considering that the terrain-aided navigation (TAN) system based on iterated closest contour point (ICCP) algorithm diverges easily when the indicative track of strapdown inertial navigation system (SINS) is large, Kalman filter is adopted in the traditional ICCP algorithm, difference between matching result and SINS output is used as the measurement of Kalman filter, then the cumulative error of the SINS is corrected in time by filter feedback correction, and the indicative track used in ICCP is improved. The mathematic model of the autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) integrated into the navigation system and the observation model of TAN is built. Proper matching point number is designated by comparing the simulation results of matching time and matching precision. Simulation experiments are carried out according to the ICCP algorithm and the mathematic model. It can be concluded from the simulation experiments that the navigation accuracy and stability are improved with the proposed combinational algorithm in case that proper matching point number is engaged. It will be shown that the integrated navigation system is effective in prohibiting the divergence of the indicative track and can meet the requirements of underwater, long-term and high precision of the navigation system for autonomous underwater vehicles.

Concepts: Kalman filter, Mathematics, Rocket, Submarine, Autonomous underwater vehicle, Inertial navigation system, Control theory, Dead reckoning


A novel real-time reaction obstacle avoidance algorithm (RRA) is proposed for autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) that must adapt to unknown complex terrains, based on forward looking sonar (FLS). To accomplish this algorithm, obstacle avoidance rules are planned, and the RRA processes are split into five steps Introduction only lists 4 so AUVs can rapidly respond to various environment obstacles. The largest polar angle algorithm (LPAA) is designed to change detected obstacle’s irregular outline into a convex polygon, which simplifies the obstacle avoidance process. A solution is designed to solve the trapping problem existing in U-shape obstacle avoidance by an outline memory algorithm. Finally, simulations in three unknown obstacle scenes are carried out to demonstrate the performance of this algorithm, where the obtained obstacle avoidance trajectories are safety, smooth and near-optimal.

Concepts: Force, Autonomous underwater vehicle, Introduction, Environment, Polar coordinate system, Problem solving


Marine seismic surveys are an important tool to map geology beneath the seafloor and manage petroleum resources, but they are also a source of underwater noise pollution. A mass mortality of scallops in the Bass Strait, Australia occurred a few months after a marine seismic survey in 2010, and fishing groups were concerned about the potential relationship between the two events. The current study used three field-based methods to investigate the potential impact of marine seismic surveys on scallops in the region: 1) dredging and 2) deployment of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) were undertaken to examine the potential response of two species of scallops (Pecten fumatus, Mimachlamys asperrima) before, two months after, and ten months after a 2015 marine seismic survey; and 3) MODIS satellite data revealed patterns of sea surface temperatures from 2006-2016. Results from the dredging and AUV components show no evidence of scallop mortality attributable to the seismic survey, although sub-lethal effects cannot be excluded. The remote sensing revealed a pronounced thermal spike in the eastern Bass Strait between February and May 2010, overlapping the scallop beds that suffered extensive mortality and coinciding almost exactly with dates of operation for the 2010 seismic survey. The acquisition of in situ data coupled with consideration of commercial seismic arrays meant that results were ecologically realistic, while the paired field-based components (dredging, AUV imagery) provided a failsafe against challenges associated with working wholly in the field. This study expands our knowledge of the potential environmental impacts of marine seismic survey and will inform future applications for marine seismic surveys, as well as the assessment of such applications by regulatory authorities.

Concepts: Oceanography, Pecten, Pectinidae, Bass Strait, Sea surface temperature, Autonomous underwater vehicle, Scallop, Reflection seismology


In this paper, a new concept of formation learning control is introduced to the field of formation control of multiple autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), which specifies a joint objective of distributed formation tracking control and learning/identification of nonlinear uncertain AUV dynamics. A novel two-layer distributed formation learning control scheme is proposed, which consists of an upper-layer distributed adaptive observer and a lower-layer decentralized deterministic learning controller. This new formation learning control scheme advances existing techniques in three important ways: 1) the multi-AUV system under consideration has heterogeneous nonlinear uncertain dynamics; 2) the formation learning control protocol can be designed and implemented by each local AUV agent in a fully distributed fashion without using any global information; and 3) in addition to the formation control performance, the distributed control protocol is also capable of accurately identifying the AUVs' heterogeneous nonlinear uncertain dynamics and utilizing experiences to improve formation control performance. Extensive simulations have been conducted to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed results.

Concepts: Ontology, Multiplication, Cybernetics, Control theory, Autonomous underwater vehicle


This paper investigates the task assignment and path planning problem for multiple AUVs in three dimensional (3D) underwater wireless sensor networks where nonholonomic motion constraints of underwater AUVs in 3D space are considered. The multi-target task assignment and path planning problem is modeled by the Multiple Traveling Sales Person (MTSP) problem and the Genetic Algorithm (GA) is used to solve the MTSP problem with Euclidean distance as the cost function and the Tour Hop Balance (THB) or Tour Length Balance (TLB) constraints as the stop criterion. The resulting tour sequences are mapped to 2D Dubins curves in the X - Y plane, and then interpolated linearly to obtain the Z coordinates. We demonstrate that the linear interpolation fails to achieve G 1 continuity in the 3D Dubins path for multiple targets. Therefore, the interpolated 3D Dubins curves are checked against the AUV dynamics constraint and the ones satisfying the constraint are accepted to finalize the 3D Dubins curve selection. Simulation results demonstrate that the integration of the 3D Dubins curve with the MTSP model is successful and effective for solving the 3D target assignment and path planning problem.

Concepts: Linear interpolation, Euclidean space, Linear programming, Autonomous underwater vehicle, Metric space, Numerical analysis, Distance, Problem solving


This paper presents the design, manufacturing and testing of a Dual Accelerometer Vector Sensor (DAVS). The device was built within the activities of the WiMUST project, supported under the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme, which aims to improve the efficiency of the methodologies used to perform geophysical acoustic surveys at sea by the use of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs). The DAVS has the potential to contribute to this aim in various ways, for example, owing to its spatial filtering capability, it may reduce the amount of post processing by discriminating the bottom from the surface reflections. Additionally, its compact size allows easier integration with AUVs and hence facilitates the vehicle manoeuvrability compared to the classical towed arrays. The present paper is focused on results related to acoustic wave azimuth estimation as an example of its spatial filtering capabilities. The DAVS device consists of two tri-axial accelerometers and one hydrophone moulded in one unit. Sensitivity and directionality of these three sensors were measured in a tank, whilst the direction estimation capabilities of the accelerometers paired with the hydrophone, forming a vector sensor, were evaluated on a Medusa Class AUV, which was sailing around a deployed sound source. Results of these measurements are presented in this paper.

Concepts: Measurement, Transducer, Physics, Force, Units of measurement, Present, Autonomous underwater vehicle, Microelectromechanical systems


The aim of the Smart and Networking Underwater Robots in Cooperation Meshes (SWARMs) project is to make autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), remote operated vehicles (ROVs) and unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) more accessible and useful. To achieve cooperation and communication between different AUVs, these must be able to exchange messages, so an efficient and reliable communication network is necessary for SWARMs. In order to provide an efficient and reliable communication network for mission execution, one of the important and necessary issues is the topology control of the network of AUVs that are cooperating underwater. However, due to the specific properties of an underwater AUV cooperation network, such as the high mobility of AUVs, large transmission delays, low bandwidth, etc., the traditional topology control algorithms primarily designed for terrestrial wireless sensor networks cannot be used directly in the underwater environment. Moreover, these algorithms, in which the nodes adjust their transmission power once the current transmission power does not equal an optimal one, are costly in an underwater cooperating AUV network. Considering these facts, in this paper, we propose a Probabilistic Topology Control (PTC) algorithm for an underwater cooperating AUV network. In PTC, when the transmission power of an AUV is not equal to the optimal transmission power, then whether the transmission power needs to be adjusted or not will be determined based on the AUV’s parameters. Each AUV determines their own transmission power adjustment probability based on the parameter deviations. The larger the deviation, the higher the transmission power adjustment probability is, and vice versa. For evaluating the performance of PTC, we combine the PTC algorithm with the Fuzzy logic Topology Control (FTC) algorithm and compare the performance of these two algorithms. The simulation results have demonstrated that the PTC is efficient at reducing the transmission power adjustment ratio while improving the network performance.

Concepts: Equality, Autonomous underwater vehicle, Graph theory, Relational operator, Assignment, Wireless sensor network, Unmanned vehicles, Equals sign