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This paper presents a behavior-based adaptive mission planner (AMP)to trace a chemical plume to its source and reliably declare the source location. The proposed AMP is implemented on a REMUS autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV)equipped with multiple types of sensors that measure chemical concentration,the flow velocity vector, and AUV position, depth, altitude, attitude, and speed. This paper describes the methods and results from experiments conducted in November 2002 on San Clemente Island, CA, using a plume of Rhodamine dye developed in a turbulent fluid flow (i.e., near-shore ocean conditions). These experiments demonstrated chemical plume tracing over 100 m and source declaration accuracy relative to the nominal source location on the order of tens of meters. The designed maneuvers are divided into four behavior types: finding a plume,tracing the plume, reacquiring the plume, and declaring the source location. The tracing and reacquiring behaviors are inspired by male moths flying up wind along a pheromone plume to locate a sexually receptive female. All behaviors are formulated by perception and action modules and translated into chemical plume-tracing algorithms suitable for implementation on a REMUS AUV. To coordinate the different behaviors, the subsumption architecture is adopted to define and arbitrate the behavior priorities. AUVs capable of such feats would have applicability in searching for environmentally interesting phenomena, unexploded ordnance, undersea wreckage, and sources of hazardous chemicals or pollutants.
Date of Publication: April 2006