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Enhancement of AUV Autonomy Using Backseat Driver Control Architecture

Jimin Hwang 1, Neil Bose 2, Gina Millar 2, Aidan Brook Gillard 2, Hung Duc Nguyen 1, and Guy Williams 1
1. Australian Maritime College, University of Tasmania, Launceston, Australia
2. Memorial University, Department of Ocean and Naval Architectural Engineering and CREAIT, St. John’s, Canada

Abstract—The Deepwater Horizon oil spill accident (April 2010) in the Gulf of Mexico released an unprecedented amount of crude oil, much of which was trapped around 1000m below the surface. The accident has attracted worldwide attention and promoted many autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV) projects. The principal objective of our project is to establish a Backseat Driver control architecture for an AUV to monitor undissolvable marine pollutants. Our scope of work focuses on validating a new method to manoeuvre and control an AUV by implementing the Missions Oriented Operating Suite (MOOS-IvP) Backseat Driver system that was newly integrated on the Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) Explorer AUV. A Ping360 scanning sonar, as the main in-situ sensor, was integrated with the vehicle. This enabled a capability to survey horizontal sectors up to 360° and ranges up-to 50m from the AUV in real-time to evaluate information of sonar reflections from objects surrounding the vehicle without a human-operator-in-the-loop. We validated the capability of this intelligent Backseat Driving control through three sets of field experiments that were conducted in October – November 2020 in Newfoundland, Canada.

Index Terms—autonomous underwater vehicle, marine pollutants, oil plume delineation, underwater acoustic detection, backseat driver control, MOOS-IvP

Cite: Jimin Hwang, Neil Bose, Gina Millar, Aidan Brook Gillard, Hung Duc Nguyen, and Guy Williams, "Enhancement of AUV Autonomy Using Backseat Driver Control Architecture," International Journal of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics Research, Vol. 10, No. 6, pp. 292-300, June 2021. DOI: 10.18178/ijmerr.10.6.292-300

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