Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

2012 projects

Vehicle enhancements and upgrades

Collaborative Multi-Robot Exploration of the Coastal Ocean

Project lead/manager: Kanna Rajan

The goal of this National Science Foundation-funded project is to elucidate the basic principles governing environmental field models. This research collaboration with University of Southern California's Robotics Lab and Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute is based on the integration of adaptive robot sampling with human decision-making. This will enhance multi-robot adaptive sampling by investigating the relationship between environmental field structure and sampling performance, developing improved field boundary tracking techniques, and creating methods for multi-resolution, multivariable sampling. 

Deepwater Mapping Autonomous Underwater Vehicle

Project lead: Dave Caress
Project manager: Hans Thomas
Project website

Deep seafloor mapping has become a cornerstone of MBARI’s autonomous underwater vehicle program. A second mapping vehicle will provide flexibility in meeting mission requirements and allow for simultaneous surveying in deepwater settings.

Delay-Tolerant Network

Project lead: Kanna Rajan
Project manager: Mark Chaffey

This study will detail the feasibility of extending traditional shore-based Ethernet networking to the operating environment of ocean platforms using a network protocol known as delay-tolerant networks.

Distributed Autonomy

Project lead/manager: Kanna Rajan

This research group is addressing the problem of multi-vehicle, autonomously operating, goal-oriented experiments with specific emphasis on the 2012 Controlled, Agile, and Novel Observing Network (CANON) field program. The objective is to have a software system that can control and coordinate two or more mobile, heterogeneous, robotic assets from shore to execute a plan of scientific interest, while the assets adapt to the changing conditions.

Long-Range Autonomous Underwater Vehicle

Project lead: Jim Bellingham
Project manager: Brett Hobson
Project website

Improvements toward greater reliability and range of the long-range autonomous underwater vehicle (LRAUV) and its graphical user interface will enable broader science use by non-experts. The field program for 2012 will be driven by the CANON Initiative. Improving the LRAUV sensing capabilities and increasing usability of the vehicle will be major areas of effort.

Miniature Remotely Operated Vehicle

Project lead: Charlie Paull
Project manager: Dale Graves

Development of a small flyaway ROV continues, with the goal of completing fabrication and testing in 2012. With partial funding from the Geological Survey of Canada, the vehicle is being built in part for an expedition to the Arctic Sea to explore the gas venting and associated seafloor morphologies that develop along the Arctic margin.

Ocean Imaging

Project leads: Dave Caress, Charles Paull
Project manager: Dave Caress

This project aims to develop four-dimensional imaging capabilities by integrating off-the-shelf sonar and camera sensors on our ROVs and AUVs. The ROV-based system will be moved from Ventana to Doc Ricketts, and long-term monitoring will begin at two sites in the deep Monterey Canyon. Navigation using real-time vision and the local terrain will be implemented. Software will be developed to construct three-dimensional models of the seafloor.

Precision Control of ROVs and AUVs

Project leads: Rob McEwen, Charlie Paull, Mike Risi
Project manager: Steve Rock

MBARI adjunct Steve Rock and his graduate students at Stanford University will transition the software tools they have developed to enable real-time, terrain-relative navigation for use on MBARI remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). The software allows a vehicle to navigate by itself using its sonar system and a stored map acquired previously from another system such as the AUV D. Allan B.

Last updated: Oct. 28, 2014