Low cost underwater gliders for littoral marine research

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Conference Proceeding

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Current off-the-shelf underwater gliders (UGs) are large, heavy, expensive, and difficult to modify, both in hardware and software, which limits their use for multivehicle coordination experiments and deployment in highrisk environments. To address these challenges, the Nonlinear and Autonomous Systems Laboratory (NAS Lab) at Michigan Tech has designed two types of UGs for concept development, testing, and problem solving, and additionally, for scaffolding advanced interest and education in engineering. The first, a Glider for Underwater Presentation and Promoting Interest in Engineering (GUPPIE), nationally targets high school students and undergraduates to provide these students a UG platform for hands-on experience in concept development, testing, and problem solving. The second platform is a Glider for Autonomous Littoral Underwater Research (GALUR). At 10% of the cost of current models, the GALUR was designed to serve as a low cost multivehicle control testbed for disparate research groups who need to test and validate control algorithms. Still a highly-maneuverable UG, the GALUR allows researchers to address underwater communication issues by implementing control strategies for individual and multiple vehicle underwater data collection and mapping. Through the process of developing and testing these two UGs, the research team is ultimately working toward their long term goal of developing a fleet of low cost highly maneuverable underwater gliders. This paper details the challenges and milestones of the development process, and outlines the future research trajectory and goals. © 2013 AACC American Automatic Control Council.

Publication Title

Proceedings of the American Control Conference