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A Mission Controller for High Level Control of Autonomous and Semi-Autonomous Underwater Vehicles

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4 Author(s)
Martin, S.C. ; Dept. of Mech. Eng., Johns Hopkins Univ., Baltimore, MD ; Whitcomb, L.L. ; Yoerger, D. ; Singh, H.

This paper reports the development of a new mission controller to provide high-level control for autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicle operation. The mission controller is capable of: (a) the continuous monitor, detection and response to vehicle subsystem status, (b) the detection and response to the availability of a tethered (fiber optic) or untethered (acoustic) telemetry link, and (c) the ability to dynamically load and executing new mission scripts based upon commands sent via an acoustic or fiber telemetry link or from within a mission script, (d) support for real-time and fast-time simulated missions with simulated message traffic to the low level controller. Mission scripts support the programming functionality of: (a) "For" and "While" Loops, (b) "If/Else" conditionals, (c) variable declarations, (d) subroutines defined within the mission script that are accessible by the mission controller, (e) usage and alteration of variables defined within the mission controller. This mission controller is designed to provide high-level control to underwater vehicles including fully autonomous AUVs, acoustically controlled AUVs and a new class of hybrid vehicle capable of operating both as an ROV and as an AUV built upon, but not exclusive to, the existing Jason II control system architecture. This mission controller is currently operational on the Johns Hopkins University Remotely Operated Vehicle (JHU ROV) and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution's (WHOI's) Sentry AUV. We expect it to be operational on WHOI's Hybrid Remotely Operated Vehicle in May 2007. We report the results of preliminary engineering trials of the mission controller in operation on the WHOI's Sentry AUV

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18-21 Sept. 2006