Agile, Hovering AUVs For Naval Special Warfare Operations
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Historically, maritime Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) development has focused on long-range, open-ocean applications. However, a large number of applications, particularly for Naval Special Warfare (NSW) missions, require operation close to objects (e.g., the seafloor, ships, submarines, submerged structures, other AUVs, and even divers). This study investigated the use of agile, hover-capable AUVs during NSW operations. Ongoing research at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) is focused on developing an agile, hover-capable AUV that is suitable for operations in close proximity to any or all of the above (close quarters operations). Continued research is required in precise platform control and dynamic stabilization, precision terrain-relative navigation, 3D mapping and obstacle avoidance, joint diver-robot operations with autonomous and semi-autonomous modes of operation, and autonomous intervention. Building on ongoing efforts, this effort will specifically investigate the use of an AUV in support of NSW missions. Through this program, students will have the opportunity to research the challenges associated with proximal AUV operations, including control, terrain-relative navigation, 3D mapping and obstacle avoidance, and intervention.
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