Mid-water current aided localization for autonomous underwater vehicles
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Survey-class autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) typically rely on Doppler Velocity Logs (DVL) for precision localization near the seafloor. In cases where the seafloor depth is greater than the DVL bottom-lock range, localizing between the surface and the seafloor presents a localization problem since both GPS and DVL observations are unavailable in the mid-water column. This work proposes a solution to this problem that exploits the fact that current profile layers of the water column are near constant over short time scales (in the scale of minutes). Using observations of these currents obtained with the Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler mode of the DVL during descent, along with data from other sensors, the method discussed herein constrains position error. The method is validated using field data from the Sirius AUV coupled with view-based Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) and on descents up to 3km deep with the Sentry AUV.
KeywordsAUV ADCP Underwater Localization Mid-water Navigation
This work is supported in part by NCRIS IMOS, the Australian Research Council (ARC), the New South Wales Government and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Sirius AUV data was obtained on cruises supported by the University of Tasmania and the IMOS AUV Facility program. We thank the cruise PIs (N. Barrett and C. Johnson), the officers and crew of the R/V Challenger and the Sirius operations team (D. Mercer and G. Powell). Deep water data was obtained on cruises AT26-09 (PIs: G. Wheat, A. Fisher, and S. Hulme) and AT26-17 (PIs: J. Kinsey, T. Crone, and E. Mittelsteadt) through funding from National Science Foundation. We thank the officers and crew of the R/V Atlantis and the Sentry operations team (Z. Berkowitz, A. Duester, J. Fujii, J. Hansen, M. Loebecker, S. Suman) for their assistance.
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