Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

ONR Helps Undersea Robots Get the Big Picture

05.12.2011
Scientists have successfully transitioned fundamental research in autonomy to undersea gliders, demonstrating in recent sea tests how the new software, sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), can help robots become smarter at surveying large swaths of ocean.

“Using the new algorithms, the vehicle has a greater ability to make its own decisions without requiring a human in the loop,” said Marc Steinberg, program officer for ONR’s Adaptive Networks for Threat and Intrusion Detection or Termination (ANTIDOTE), a multi-disciplinary university research program.

With plans to deploy squadrons of air, surface and undersea robotic vehicles later this decade, the Department of the Navy is investing in basic research programs to improve autonomous system capabilities.

“Advancing autonomy for unmanned systems allows you the ability to do things that wouldn’t be practical otherwise because we don’t have enough warfighters or communication today,” said Steinberg, who works in ONR’s Naval Air Warfare and Weapons Department. “If you incorporate some intelligence on the vehicles that can solve complex mission problems, then we can enable wholly new capabilities that can be achieved with limited numbers of people and communications in complicated, dynamic environments.”

ONR provided funding to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and University of Southern California (USC) to advance the intelligence of autonomous vehicles under both ANTIDOTE and a related university program called Smart Adaptive Reliable Teams for Persistent Surveillance. They developed a persistent surveillance theory that provides a framework for decision-making software that maximizes a robot’s collection of information over a given area. It gives some guarantees on performance in dynamic environments.

“The ability to do surveillance that takes into account the actual conditions of the environment brings a whole new level of automation and capability,” said Dr. Daniela Rus, co-director of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory Center for Robotics. “We have come up with a solution that lets the robot do local reasoning to make decisions and adjust the path autonomously without having to come up to the surface to interact with humans.”

The scientists produced an algorithm that incorporates both the user’s sensing priorities and environmental factors, such as ocean currents, into a computer model to help undersea robots conduct surveys and mapping missions more efficiently.

Tests proved the benefits of using the new algorithm. The scientists conducted two separate experiments using underwater robots called gliders, operated by oceanographers. They used two gliders, one with the algorithm and one without, to measure whether the experimental technology yielded better maps of algae blooms and other underwater phenomena in the Pacific Ocean.

“In areas where the oceanographers wanted more information, the persistent surveillance algorithm actually produces more detail,” said Dr. Gaurav S. Sukhatme, ANTIDOTE’s principal investigator and director of USC’s Robotic Embedded Systems Lab. “The system can automatically figure out how to divide its time between areas that are more interesting and areas that are less interesting.”

The algorithm helps the gliders decide when to spend more time looking at regions that have changes in activity or environmental factors. Without the control algorithm, gliders paid equal attention to all areas and acquired less information during the experiments in Monterey Bay, Calif., and along the southern coastal waters near Los Angeles in October and November 2010. The first experiment lasted a period of three weeks; the second ran for two weeks. A third experiment in August 2011 took place in the Southern California Bight for 10 days. Results of the single-glider test are being analyzed.

Though the gliders were an ideal first test of the persistent surveillance theory and algorithm, the software is applicable to many different machines and robots, the scientists said.

About the Office of Naval Research

The Department of the Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR) provides the science and technology necessary to maintain the Navy and Marine Corps’ technological advantage. Through its affiliates, ONR is a leader in science and technology with engagement in 50 states, 70 countries, 1,035 institutions of higher learning and 914 industry partners. ONR employs approximately 1,400 people, comprising uniformed, civilian and contract personnel, with additional employees at the Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C.

Office of Naval Research
Corporate Strategic Communications
875 N. Randolph St., #1225-D
Arlington, Va., 22203-1771
Office: (703) 696-5031
Fax: (703) 696-5940
E-mail: onrcsc@onr.navy.mil
Web: www.onr.navy.mil
Facebook: www.facebook.com/officeofnavalresearch

Tammy White | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.onr.navy.mil

More articles from Interdisciplinary Research:

nachricht Easier Diagnosis of Esophageal Cancer
06.03.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Sandia uses confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance
27.02.2017 | DOE/Sandia National Laboratories

All articles from Interdisciplinary Research >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>