Acoustic Masking of a Stealthy Outdoor Robot Tracking a Dynamic Target
This work is motivated by the desire to covertly track mobile targets, either animal or human, in previously unmapped outdoor natural environments using off-road robotic platforms with a non-negligible acoustic signature. The use of robots for stealthy surveillance is not new. Many studies exist but only consider the navigation problem to maintain visual covertness. However, robotic systems also have a significant acoustic footprint from the onboard sensors, motors, computers and cooling systems, and also from the wheels interacting with the terrain during motion. All these can jepordise any visual covertness. In this work, we experimentally explore the concepts of opportunistically utilizing naturally occurring sounds within outdoor environments to mask the motion of a robot, and being visually covert whilst maintaining constant observation of the target. Our experiments in a constrained outdoor built environment demonstrate the effectiveness of the concept by showing a reduced acoustic signature as perceived by a mobile target allowing the robot to covertly navigate to opportunistic vantage points for observation.
Keywordsacoustic covert stealth robot tracking
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