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Showing posts from October 19, 2014

Groping in the Dark - Unmanned Underwater Navigation

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One of the more pressing technical challenges with today's unmanned underwater vehicles is maintaining an accurate navigational position.  Because GPS signals will not penetrate the water's surface, UUVs typically rely on inertial navigation systems and periodic trips to the surface to gain an accurate satellite fix.
Bathymetric navigation, or finding one's ways through the contours of the sea floor, has been a tool used by mariners - both surface and subsurface - since the advent of sonar.  But accuracy was hampered due to inaccurate underwater charts and the processing limitations.

Advances in sensors and computing may change these dynamics as explored in Ensign Jacob T. Juriga's recent Naval Postgraduate School Thesis. Juriga's research
focused on terrain aided navigation (TAN) through a series of autonomous vehicle trials near the Aquarius Underwater Research Station located in Islamorada, Florida.  There, using two REMUS 100 AUVs and a SeaBotix vLBV300 Tethe…