Long-Endurance, Integrated UUV/USV Tactical Environmental Sensing System
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This study continued our investigation into the cooperative use of small undersea gliders (eg, Spray, Slocum and Seagliders) and surface-based gliders (eg, Wave Gliders, AutoNaut) as an integrated, long-endurance ISR and environmental sensing system that provides the warfighter with real-time acoustic and oceanographic information. Our efforts focused on advancing a collaborative UUV/USV system and demonstrating an at- sea capability for operational situational awareness and timely wide-area environmental assessment applicable to Undersea Warfare and Battlespace Awareness missions. The research leveraged existing NPS glider assets and USV platforms owned by our collaborators at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research institute (MBARI) to build upon our initial theoretical/modeling results and preliminary field datasets. The research initiative has been a unique effort in that it emphasizes both engineering (collaborative navigation strategies) and science (acoustic propagation) objectives. Students using the data collected for thesis work have the opportunity to develop research topics in a variety of areas such as controls for a multi-asset system, acoustic communication of critical data and navigational information in challenging environments, and impacts of environmental factors affecting system performance and optimization. Students will also be able to use these data in future thesis work to investigate innovative methods of fine-tuning and adapting this distributed system in response to changing environmental conditions and/or partial loss in capability.
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