Underwater Robots Collaborate
Posted on August 6, 2006 Comments (2)
This August in Monterey Bay, Calif., an entire fleet of undersea robots will, for the first time, work together without the aid of humans to make detailed and efficient observations of the ocean.
The oceanographic test bed in Monterey is expected to yield rich information in particular about a periodic upwelling of cold water that occurs at this time of year near Point Año Nuevo, northwest of Monterey Bay.
But the project has potentially larger implications. It may lead to the development of robot fleets that forecast ocean conditions and better protect endangered marine animals, track oil spills, and guide military operations at sea. Moreover, the mathematical system that allows the undersea robots to self-choreograph their movements in response to their environment might one day power other robotic teams that — without human supervision — could explore not just oceans, but deserts, rain forests and even other planets.
The Adaptive Sampling and Prediction (ASAP) program is funded by the Naval Postgraduate School and co-led by Naomi Ehrich Leonard of Princeton University and Steven Ramp of the Naval Postgraduate School.