Autonomous Operation of a Coordinated Underwater Glider Fleet
Agency / Branch:
DOD / NAVY
Webb Research Corporation (WRC) and Rutgers University (RU) plan to provide an important advance in regional-scale coastal ocean observation programs by operating a coordinated fleet of glider AUVs in an intelligent adaptive network. Slocum autonomousunderwater vehicle Gliders (AUVGs) are uniquely mobile network components capable of moving to specific locations and depths, occupying controlled spatial and temporal grids, and will conduct their third annual test this July during the final ONR-sponsoredCoastal Predictive Skill Experiment (CPSE) at Rutgers' local-scale (30 km x 30 km) Long-term Ecosystem Observatory (LEO). Over the following year, a fleet of second-generation Slocum Gliders will be constructed by WRC and utilized at RU for operationwithin the developing regional-scale (300 km x 300 km) New Jersey Shelf Observing System (NJSOS). The challenge ahead is to determine how best to operate a coordinated fleet of Gliders beneath the spatially-extensive regional remote sensing systems givencues from multiple real-time datasets and model forecasts. This requires the development and testing of (a) new compact and low-power physical, chemical, and bio-optical sensors for the Gliders, (b) ocean feature detection software to provide the cues andresponse on an individual and fleet scale, (c) new bi-directional robust communications systems, and (d) a networked autonomous Glider command/control center. Phase I will design these systems using experience gained and data collected during the summersof 1999-2001. Phase II will focus on operational transition into the regional-scale NJSOS Coastal Predictive Skill Experiments in 2004 as well as Phase III commercialization.Gliders, although not a mature technology, are a commercial success with 10 beingconstructed on commercial order and 5 more potential orders in 2001. Two benefits are anticipated. First, the development of an adaptive sampling network using all available inputs, plus intelligence in the mobile gliders is a timely and productiveadvance in coastal ocean research. Second, the planned glider improvements in measurement, communication, and operation will benefit a wide spectrum of programs.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Research Institution Information:
WEBB RESEARCH CORP.
82 Technology Park Drive East Falmouth, MA 02536
Number of Employees:
Inst. Marine & Coastal Science, 71 Dudley Road
New Brunswick, CT 08901
Nonprofit college or university