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The goal of adaptive sampling in the ocean is to predict the types and locations of additional ocean measurements that would be most useful to collect. Quantitatively, what is most useful is defined by an objective function and the goal is then to optimize this objective under the constraints of the available observing network. Examples of objectives are better oceanic understanding, to improve forecast quality, or to sample regions of high interest. This work provides a new path-planning scheme for the adaptive sampling problem. We define the path-planning problem in terms of an optimization framework and propose a method based on mixed integer linear programming (MILP). The mathematical goal is to find the vehicle path that maximizes the line integral of the uncertainty of field estimates along this path. Sampling this path can improve the accuracy of the field estimates the most. While achieving this objective, several constraints must be satisfied and are implemented. They relate to vehicle motion, intervehicle coordination, communication, collision avoidance, etc. The MILP formulation is quite powerful to handle different problem constraints and flexible enough to allow easy extensions of the problem. The formulation covers single- and multiple-vehicle cases as well as single- and multiple-day formulations. The need for a multiple-day formulation arises when the ocean sampling mission is optimized for several days ahead. We first introduce the details of the formulation, then elaborate on the objective function and constraints, and finally, present a varied set of examples to illustrate the applicability of the proposed method.
Date of Publication: Oct. 2008