With MIT-developed algorithms, robots plan underwater missions autonomously
For the last decade, scientists have deployed increasingly capable underwater robots to map and monitor pockets of the ocean to track the health of fisheries, and survey marine habitats and species. In general, such robots are effective at carrying out low-level tasks, specifically assigned to them by human engineers — a tedious and time-consuming process for the engineers.
When deploying autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), much of an engineer’s time is spent writing scripts, or low-level commands, in order to direct a robot to carry out a mission plan. Now a new programming approach developed by MIT engineers gives robots more “cognitive” capabilities, enabling humans to specify high-level goals, while a robot performs high-level decision-making to figure out how to achieve these goals.
For example, an engineer may give a robot a list of goal locations to explore, along with any time constraints, as well as physical directions, such as staying a certain distance above the seafloor. Using the system devised by the MIT team, the robot can then plan out a mission, choosing which locations to explore, in what order, within a given timeframe. If an unforeseen event prevents the robot from completing a task, it can choose to drop that task, or reconfigure the hardware to recover from a failure, on the fly.
In March, the team tested the autonomous mission-planning system during a research cruise off the western coast of Australia. Over three weeks, the MIT engineers, along with groups from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Australian Center for Field Robotics, the University of Rhode Island, and elsewhere, tested several classes of AUVs, and their ability to work cooperatively to map the ocean environment.
The MIT researchers tested their system on an autonomous underwater glider, and demonstrated that the robot was able to operate safely among a number of other autonomous vehicles, while receiving higher-level commands. The glider, using the system, was able to adapt its mission plan to avoid getting in the way of other vehicles, while still achieving its most important scientific objectives. If another vehicle was taking longer than expected to explore a particular area, the glider, using the MIT system, would reshuffle its priorities, and choose to stay in its current location longer, in order to avoid potential collisions.
“We wanted to show that these vehicles could plan their own missions, and execute, adapt, and re-plan them alone, without human support,” says Brian Williams, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT, and principal developer of the mission-planning system. “With this system, we were showing we could safely zigzag all the way around the reef, like an obstacle course.”
The Latest on: Autonomous mission-planning system
via Google News
The Latest on: Autonomous mission-planning system
- Reliable Robotics raises $100M for autonomous flight techon October 14, 2021 at 7:21 am
Reliable Robotics, a developer of autonomous flight technology, raised $100 million in funding. It initial focus is autonomous cargo planes.
- IAI to Develop Carmel Future Armored Fighting Vehicleon October 12, 2021 at 6:25 am
This solution is based on automatic and autonomous systems that complement the two-man team, and operate the central subsystems – the vehicles’ mission planning and management, situational ...
- Citadel Defense Expands Counter Drone Capabilitieson October 12, 2021 at 4:59 am
Christopher Williams, CEO of Citadel Defense explained, “Our autonomous systems quickly and accurately ... of UAS activity important for mission planning. The Titan Multi-Sensor solution ...
- IAI to develop IDF’s future AFVon October 11, 2021 at 6:48 am
Their solution is based on automatic and autonomous systems that complement the two-man team and operate the central subsystems: the vehicle’s mission planning and management, situational awareness, ...
- Meet the Aussie innovators driving us forwardon October 8, 2021 at 10:22 am
Once considered niche and out of reach for most Aussies, electric vehicles are now becoming truly mainstream and a viable option for most buyers, while autonomous ... is on a mission to create ...
- General Dynamics Land Systems to showcase unmanned vehicles at AUSA 2021on October 7, 2021 at 6:00 am
General Dynamics Land Systems will unveil its new family of medium-class robotic combat vehicles (RCV-M), among many other systems, at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference: Tracked ...
- Cyprus Subsea to Rep HII's Unmanned Systemson October 6, 2021 at 8:31 am
Cyprus Subsea Consulting and Services, C.S.C.S. Ltd. announced it has signed an independent sales representative agreement with ...
- General Dynamics at AUSA 2021: Transforming America's Future Fighting Forceon October 6, 2021 at 7:29 am
General Dynamics, a global aerospace and defense company with a broad portfolio of products and services including combat vehicles, weapons systems ... thus making mission planning easier ...
- Honeywell Unveils Anthem, The Aviation Industry's First Cloud-Connected Cockpit Systemon October 5, 2021 at 3:41 pm
you've got a truly game-changing system," Gupta said. "Honeywell Anthem is going to bring us closer to our shared industry goals of better pilot experiences and more autonomous flight." ...
- Honeywell Unveils Anthem, The Aviation Industry's First Cloud-Connected Cockpit Systemon October 5, 2021 at 1:00 pm
Always-on cloud connectivity provides unprecedented operational efficiency and a clear path to autonomous flight ...
via Bing News