30 Nov '12, 3pm

Underwater Robots Know Where They’re Going

Twisty underwater ravines and seas with moving icebergs provide tricky terrain for an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) to navigate; that’s why underwater vehicles sent to investigate such areas rely on remote piloting from shipboard. That won’t be necessary for much longer, according to engineers from Stanford University’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) . They have developed a system that allows an AUV to consider both an existing terrain map and its own view of obstacles in its path as it “flies” over the sea floor. Stanford doctoral student Sarah Houts took an existing terrain-relative navigation system developed by Stanford and MBARI—one that allows an AUV to navigate by matching its altitude to a terrain map—and added algorithms that enable the vehicle to plan its route to steer around obstacles sp...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/robotics-soft...

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