Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

2013 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. 

Distributed Autonomy

Project lead/manager: Kanna Rajan

Kanna Rajan's research group is addressing multi-vehicle, autonomous, goal-oriented experiments with specific emphasis on the Controlled, Agile, and Novel Observing Network (CANON) initiative. Their objective is to have a software system that can control and coordinate multiple mobile, robotic assets to execute a plan of scientific interest, while the assets adapt to the changing conditions.

Iceberg AUV

Project lead: Ken Smith
Project managers: Brett Hobson, Steve Rock

The goals of this NASA Astrobiology Science and Technology for Exploring Planets (ASTEP) program are to develop new observational technologies that will enable robotic exploration for the evidence of life in extreme environments, and to demonstrate these technologies using an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV). Field campaigns are proposed first in Monterey Bay and then in the Antarctic (or Arctic) where the objective is to characterize the submerged surfaces and water column adjacent to free-drifting icebergs. The navigational techniques developed will support autonomous instrument placement, autonomous navigation/renavigation (return to site), sample return, and precision proximity maneuvering.

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) is planned for 2013. The team plans to assemble and test a new Tethys-class AUV specifically to host the next generation Environmental Sample Processor (3G ESP). The field program will involve running two AUVs for three weeks during the two CANON/ECOHAB experiments.

LRAUV Verification Imager

Project leads: Jim Bellingham, Mark Chaffey, Brett Hobson
Project manager: Mark Chaffey

This scoping effort will determine the scientific requirements for lighting on the long-range autonomous underwater vehicle (LRAUV) and will investigate suitable camera and lighting options.

Miniature Remotely Operated Vehicle

Project leads: Dale Graves, Charles Paull
Project manager: Alana Sherman

Iimprovements to the small flyaway ROV continue, with plans for adding a manipulator arm to provide AUV rescue capabilities and a van and control room for servicing and storage of the vehicle.

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 plans for 2013 are to develop data processing for bathymetric maps, image mosaics, and three-dimensional visualizations from multibeam and stereo camera data. Navigation using real-time vision and the local terrain will be used for repeat mapping of sites in Monterey Canyon using ROV Doc Ricketts. The team will also scope requirements for an autonomous survey platform for areas with steep and rugged terrain.

Precision Control of ROVs and AUVs

Project manager: Steve Rock

MBARI adjunct Steve Rock and his graduate students at Stanford University will refine and test their software tools to enable real-time, terrain-relative navigation for use on MBARI remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). Their 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