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ONR Funded Research Yields Autonomous Undersea Robots

Question asked by Farjand in #Robotics on Dec 3, 2011
Farjand · Dec 3, 2011
Rank C2 - EXPERT
Undersea vehicles are set to become autonomous after Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and University of Southern California (USC)'s efforts to develop an algorithm for running unmanned vehicles are successful. The project which is funded by Office of Naval Research (ONR) will add ease in getting more information of water bodies.
The idea of the research was to develop a persistent surveillance system which would take independent decisions leaving the operator for more complex situations. The effort is to tackle the situations when very limited personnel are available and the tasks to be performed are very complicated. This can be a synonymous situation as that of war. Anyways it has been tendency of humans to trust machines when it comes to busy situations.

The algorithm developed by the joint collaboration of MIT and USC enables the underwater robots ability to think as to which areas of the sea bed are more important from the research point of view. Grasping the conditions of the environment in which the robotic vehicle is subjected, the system is able to divide the timing almost ideally between the interesting aspects and the uninteresting points. The algorithm so developed is actually a computer model with a blend of human perceptions of logic and environmental factors like ocean currents and climatic conditions.

For testing the new algorithm, scientists experimented the two robots called 'Gliders', each glider was equipped with same facilities of conducting underwater surveys however with single difference, one of the glider was incorporated with Persistent Surveillance algorithm. In this activity it was observed that the one with algorithm provided the scientists with better map of algae bloom in Pacific than one without it. In all two such experiments were carried out, first spanning three weeks while the other of two weeks duration. Scientists from ONR’s Adaptive Networks for Threat and Intrusion Detection or Termination (ANTIDOTE) are also planning to conduct a third experiment to further test the system.

It will be a great step ahead if the system is integrated in all operations where correct mapping of sea bed is required for research of aquatic flora and fauna. The autonomous robots so employed will shed more light on our limited knowledge of Oceans and Seas. Posted in: #Robotics

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