Cooperative control of autonomous underwater vehicles.
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The proposed project is the simulation of a system to search for air vehicles which have splashed-down in the ocean. The system comprises a group of 10+ autonomous underwater vehicles, which cooperate in order to locate the aircraft. The search algorithm used in this system is based on a quadratic Newton method and was developed at Sandia National Laboratories. The method has already been successfully applied to several two dimensional problems at Sandia. The original 2D algorithm was converted to 3D and tested for robustness in the presence of sensor error, position error and navigational error. Treating the robots as point masses, the system was found to be robust for all such errors. Several real-life adaptations were necessary. A round-robin communication strategy was implemented on the system to properly simulate the dissemination of information throughout the group. Time to convergence is delayed but the system still functioned adequately. Once simulations for the point masses had been exhausted, the dynamics of the robots were included. The robot equations of motion were described using Kane's equations. Path-planning was investigated using optimal control methods. The Variational Calculus approach was attempted using a line search tool "fsolve" found in Matlab and a Genetic Algorithm. A dynamic programming technique was also investigated using a method recently developed by Sandia National Laboratories. The Dynamic Programming with Interior Points (DPIP) method was a very effcient method for path planning and performed well in the presence of system constraints. Finally all components of the system were integrated. The motion of the robot exactly matched the motion of the particles, even when subjected to the same robustness tests carried out on the point masses. This thesis provides exciting developments for all types of cooperative projects.
Savage, Elizabeth (2003). Cooperative control of autonomous underwater vehicles.. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from