Precision Control of ROVs and AUVs
Professor Steve Rock from the Robotics Lab at Stanford University and his students will be delivering a key capability to allow ROV pilots to automatically hold station with respect to a mooring for servicing a tethered deep-sea observatory scheduled for deployment on the Monterey Accelerated Research System (MARS) in 2008. Rock's group is also developing a terrain-based navigation system which uses a bathymetric map from an earlier survey and a simple sonar to navigate an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV). Currently, providing accurate navigation is one of the most difficult and expensive components of an AUV survey, requiring either the deployment of a transponder net or outfitting the AUV with an expensive inertial navigation system. Success in this area would open the door to cost-effective repeat surveys of terrain-mapped areas, such as Marine Protected Areas.