Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Stephen Rock, Ph.D.

Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Stanford University

Terrain-relative navigation in the Monterey Bay… and beyond

Wednesday — April 4, 2012
Pacific Forum — 3:00 p.m.

One of the key challenges to enabling underwater vehicles (ROVs and AUVs) to explore an unknown environment is the ability to navigate. In the past, navigation was typically done using either acoustic instrumentation (e.g. USBL systems) or by dead-reckoning based on inertial instruments. More recently, techniques have been demonstrated in which an AUV or ROV determines its position with respect to the terrain directly by correlating either video or sonar data in real time with a map of that terrain. This map can exist a priori, or it can be generated as part of a SLAM implementation.

This talk will review three projects at MBARI that have demonstrated the capability to perform area-based surveys with ~10cm accuracy using vision-based augmentation, and the ability to return to sites within Monterey Bay within ~5m using sonar-based terrain-relative navigation. Extensions currently under development that will enable an AUV to navigate with respect to a moving iceberg will also be discussed. Results will be presented from field trials in the Monterey Bay and an expedition to the Scotia Sea.

STEPHEN M. ROCK is a professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and is the director of the Aerospace Robotics Laboratory at Stanford University. He also holds an Adjunct position at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. Dr. Rock’s interests include the development and experimental verification of advanced control techniques for robotic and autonomous vehicle systems. Dr. Rock joined the Stanford faculty in 1988, and is a Fellow of the AIAA.


Next: April 18—Stephen Giovannoni, PhD