A Diving Autonomous Surface Vehicle For Multi-Robot Research and Development

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Ocean Science and Engineering


An economical marine vehicle was designed for environmental monitoring and field-implementation of multi-robot behaviors. This vehicle, classed as a diving autonomous surface vehicle, is capable of maneuvering along the surface using port and starboard thrusters. A variable buoyancy chamber, or buoyancy engine, allows the vehicle to take a vertical profile of the water column by pumping water into and out of a trio of actuated syringes. The operational concept of transiting along the surface and stopping to take a vertical profile, is intended to efficiently measure water column parameters in a manner suitable for expansion to multiple vehicles. Although the same task could be performed by one or more traditional autonomous underwater vehicles, the infrastructure for underwater communication and navigation is cost prohibitive at the level of efficiency achieved by the proposed fleet of diving autonomous vehicles. After progressing through two prototype phases, one vehicle is currently undergoing in-water trials. The other is being used to explore interfaces using the Robot Operating System on its Raspberry Pi control computer. Unifying the independent progress to upgrade both vehicles will result in the first two-vehicle field tests of the control system. Production copies with follow for developing true multi-vehicle adaptive behaviors suitable for marine environmental measurements.